UM system contributes $5.4 billion to state economy in 2017

Consulting firm Tripp Umbach found that the Columbia campus had a $3.9 billion impact on the state in fiscal 2017.

The impact of the UM system on the state of Missouri goes beyond educating students, according to an economic impact study conducted by consulting firm Tripp Umbach.

The report, presented to lawmakers on April 17, found that the UM system had a $5.4 billion impact on the state in fiscal year 2017. The Columbia campus accounted for $3.9 billion of that total.

The UM system hired Tripp Umbach in November 2017. The firm examined all four UM campuses, MU Extension and MU Healthcare.

The study “evaluated the economic, employment, government revenue and community benefit derived from the University,” according to the report. This includes capital and operational expenditures, number of employees and students, payroll and benefits, conferences hosted and taxes paid to local and state governments.

The amount of state and local revenue taxes collected because of MU’s Columbia campus totals over $117 million, a number that includes taxes collected on food, sales, gas and lodging.

The system as a whole receives about $400 million in appropriations from the state, meaning that taxpayers receive a return on investment of 13.5 to one, according to UM system vice president of Research and Economic development Mark McIntosh.

Tripp Umbach also found that more than 46,800 people have jobs directly or indirectly through MU alone. For Johnston Hall coordinator Liz Ainsworth, being employed at MU has meant more than just a paycheck.

“The things that I enjoy the most about it are being in a role that works with students constantly throughout the day,” Ainsworth said. “Its really motivating and exciting, and there’s nothing like working on a college campus.”

Her job as a hall coordinator also provides Ainsworth and her husband a place to live with an apartment in Johnston Hall. Ainsworth feels that the real benefits, however, come from her work with students.

“I tell people all the time that I’m so lucky because I really look forward to going to work,” Ainsworth said. “I don’t want to live on campus forever - I want a house and a dog. But for now, I’m happy where I am.”

UM system President Mun Choi indicated the importance of the data presented in the report, saying it shows the impact of higher education beyond the lives of students.

“We are dedicated to the welfare and success of the citizens of Missouri,” Choi said in a briefing from the MU News Bureau. “Our original mission was to educate the future leaders of the state and provide new knowledge that would open new opportunities and significantly alter the economic prosperity of the state for the better. This study proves that the University of Missouri system continues to be a powerful driving force for the future of the state.”

Edited by Morgan Smith |

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