North Dakota University System
Study: University System Economic Impact Rises to $4.4 Billion

Posted on 11/15/2012

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Linda Donlin, Director of Communications and
Media Relations
North Dakota University System
Phone: 701.328.2962

Study: University System Economic Impact Rises to $4.4 Billion

BISMARCK, N.D. - The economic impact of the North Dakota University System and its students on the state has risen dramatically over the past 12 years and now stands at an estimated $4.4 billion for Fiscal Year 2011, compared to $3.7 billion in FY 2009, according to the recent Economic Impact of the North Dakota University System report.

This is a result of $1.6 billion in student spending and NDUS expenditures, coupled with secondary economic impacts. The system employed more than 11,000 workers, educated about 48,000 headcount students, and the expenditures supported more than 11,000 secondary jobs.

"Higher education serves North Dakota as a key economic driver that meets the workforce, research, innovation and intellectual needs of the State and its people," said Duaine Espegard, president of the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education. "Those needs are going to increase as the state's economy blossoms. This report validates the strategic connection between a strong university system and a strong economy. It's essential that we make wise investments in higher education so that we can fulfill the needs of those who are creating the state's future."

Experts predict that North Dakota's population will increase 20 percent by the end of the decade. "About 70 percent of the 120,000 anticipated job openings in the state will require postsecondary education," said NDUS Chancellor H. A. Shirvani. "We have developed the Pathways to Student Success Plan, which will build on the strengths of our system to deliver higher-quality education to better-prepared students, thus ensuring higher graduation and retention rates. We also are re-engineering our system structure to provide greater oversight and accountability as well as more effective and efficient services. Investments in the system now will pay great dividends to the state as it grows."

Key measures of the economic impact of the North Dakota University System in FY 2011 include:

  • Direct economic impacts (expenditures) of $1.2 billion, of which $817 million were expenditures from non-general fund sources. Student living expenses were estimated at $392 million and were in addition to institution spending.
  • Direct expenditures from general and non-general funds created a gross business volume of $3.5 billion, positively impacting North Dakota households, retail trade, construction finance, insurance and real estate businesses.

The FY 2011 report was conducted by North Dakota State University's Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics and is similar to other studies done in 1999, 2004, 2008 and 2009. Report authors Dean A. Bangsund, Randall C. Coon and Nancy M. Hodur used the North Dakota Input-Output Model to estimate economic impact.

The authors concluded that the state's colleges and universities are able to leverage more than $2.30 from external sources for every dollar of state appropriated funds. Much of those non-appropriated funds come from outside sources and could be considered new money to the state.

"North Dakota is entering a new era, and it's imperative that we make good decisions about where we invest the proceeds of our prosperity," Espegard said. "With some strategic investments in our system, higher education's economic impact will grow exponentially as will its impact on the workforce of tomorrow and the state's future."

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