New report: CU Denver | Anschutz a major driver of Colorado economy

Impact estimated at $3 billion
By Staff

The University of Colorado Denver|Anschutz Medical Campus continues to be a major engine of state growth, creating thousands of jobs, attracting millions in research dollars and contributing over $3 billion to the Colorado economy in FY 2012-13.

The university’s latest economic impact reports, released Aug. 12, show significant growth in its overall effect on the state economy. If it were a publicly traded company, the university would rank in the top 25 statewide.

“The story of this university is one of perseverance, dedication and continued growth,” said CU Denver|Anschutz Chancellor Don Elliman. “We have a profound impact on our state. Our medical researchers pioneer countless new treatments, our professors are sought after experts on everything from commodities to Alzheimer’s disease and our students receive outstanding value for their tuition dollar.”

Colorado ranks 48th in the nation in per capita state funding for higher education, receiving just 6 percent of its total revenue from the state.

“Even though the university receives such a small percentage of its overall campus funding from the state, it an absolutely critical source of funding for us,” said Jeffrey Parker, vice chancellor for administration and finance. “That funding is a key financial foundation of the university’s academic and administrative programs.”

The state also supports student financial aid – $7.3 million in FY 2012-13 – which helps keep tuition affordable for Colorado residents.

“We can’t go it alone,” Parker said, “especially CU Anschutz, which has limited student enrollment and constraints on its tuition generating ability. Without state funding those programs could not continue.”

The report, prepared by the university with economic modeling from Sammons Consulting LLC, showed its contribution to the economy rose from $2.65 billion in FY 2009-10 to $3.3 billion for FY 2012-13.

The employment impact increased from 24,000 jobs to 29,374. That includes direct employment of faculty, staff, residents and student workers along with indirect support from thousands of other jobs. University sales and earnings contributed an estimated $42 million in combined sales and income taxes in FY 2012-13.

Numbers aside, CU Denver|Anschutz has ramped up efforts to graduate students into high paying jobs also benefitting the economy. It stresses hands-on learning and produces more students with advanced degrees than any other public institution in Colorado.

A 2013 study showed that CU Denver|Anschutz graduates with a bachelor’s degree had a median first-year salary of $43,804 while those with a master’s had a median first-year income of $55,605. Graduates with doctorates or other professional degrees earned $85,772.

The economic impacts extended to the university’s broad array of service learning programs which enrich the health and overall quality of life in Denver and throughout Colorado. For example, the Urban Citizen Program in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences connects students with projects aimed at poverty, housing, diversity, education, crime and immigration. Students average 600-800 hours of community service and in many cases the city is their classroom.

The School of Public Health working with Children’s Hospital Colorado has built a state-of-the-art medical center in Guatemala with students, doctors and researchers now rotating through. The university is also home to 100 centers and institutes conducting research, advocacy and providing medical care which contribute to the overall economic impact of the university.

Each campus impacted the Colorado economy in its own way.

CU Anschutz had a direct impact of $2.6 billion. That’s up from a $2.05 billion in 2009-10. It also supported 21,954 jobs compared to 17,800 jobs in 2009-10.  Despite tight budgets, CU Anschutz keeps expanding. A new $36.7 million science building broke ground last April and is slated for completion in 2015.

And the campus remains a research leader. In FY 2012-13, 27 patents were granted, 114 inventions unveiled and four start-up companies launched. Last year, over half of all licenses for CU Anschutz technology were given to companies in Colorado.

“In these times of shrinking budgets it is vital that the people of Colorado understand the enormous economic, medical, social and educational benefits that our university brings to the state,” said Lilly Marks, vice president of health affairs and executive vice chancellor of the Anschutz Medical Campus. “It’s an incredible story and one that needs to be told.”

CU Denver saw a state economic impact of $720 million in FY 2012-13, up from $604 million in FY 2009-10. Its total employment impact was 7,420 jobs, compared to 6,300 in the last report.

The university is home to seven schools and colleges and confers more master’s degrees than any other public institution of higher learning in the state. Some 73 percent of alumni remain in Colorado, increasing the university’s impact.

The economic impact reports are based on university and student spending. The expenditures were taken from the university’s financial records and estimated student spending based on annual housing, transportation and living expenses.

The full reports are available at:

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