April 4, 2013
An Economic Impact Study released today by UNC Asheville estimates the university's impact at approximately $268 million for fiscal year 2012 in the Asheville metro area.
The study, authored by research economist Tom Tveidt of SYNEVA Economics LLC, finds that economic activity generated by UNC Asheville supports 2,592 local jobs and adds $105.5 million in local income. According to the report, every dollar in state appropriations received by the university generates $2.96 in local income and $7.62 in economic output in the Asheville area.
The study found that on-campus employment accounts for less than one-third of the local jobs that UNC Asheville supports. More than 1,800 local jobs supported by UNC Asheville's economic impact are off-campus, including 442 in the retail and trade sector.
Campus operations produce approximately $153.5 million in economic impact, and spending by students adds another $36.3 million (this figure does not include tuition payments). The university also attracts visitors who spend an estimated $4.5 million annually. The presence of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UNC Asheville, with its nationally known weekend seminars that draw people from all over the country, leads approximately 100 new households to relocate to the Asheville metro area annually, raising economic output by $7.6 million.
The many UNC Asheville graduates living in the metro area have higher earning power because of their degrees. The report estimates that this "education premium" increases local earnings by $85 million, and the graduates' added spending supports 588 local jobs.
UNC Asheville last commissioned an Economic Impact Study in 1995 and the university's total impact has increased by more than $100 million since that time, adjusting for inflation. This new study notes that the results likely capture only a small portion of the actual total impact that UNC Asheville has on the Asheville area. By using spending as the primary factor to capture the effects of economic activity, it does not factor in the innovation and creativity inherent in a university setting. These impacts are difficult to quantify and are not fully reflected in the report.
"I've long known that UNC Asheville is an economic engine for the region," said Tveidt, who for 10 years led the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce's economic development research operations. "And now, as the creative sector in Asheville has grown more important, the university's economic value to the area has also grown. This new study estimates a $268 million impact in total – UNC Asheville is clearly a key driver of economic growth in Western North Carolina."
The Economic Impact Study is available online by clicking here..