CU Denver makes $802M economic impact on Colorado annually, campus officials say
BOULDER — The University of Colorado Denver makes an $802 million economic impact on the state each year through research, student spending, construction and teaching, campus officials announced Thursday at a Board of Regents meeting.
Chancellor Dorothy Horrell touted that multi-million dollar figure, derived from a 2017 survey, as she updated the board about the “economic engine” CU Denver has become for the metro region and state.
“We are a significant part of the economic driver of the city of Denver,” Horrell said. “It is that notion of having an outstanding research university in the heart of Denver that is an economic flywheel we’re helping make turn through the students, faculty and the consumer activity that goes along with that.”
Horrell gave examples of the university building facilities that employ construction workers and purchasing products and services to help serve their community’s needs.
“We’re an important contributor to overall economic health,” Horrell said.
In 2016, the University of Colorado generated an economic impact of $8.3 billion on the state of Colorado, according to a 2017 CU economic impact study. The university directly employed 32,386 faculty, staff and student workers during this timeframe, and research expenditures alone generated a nearly $1.7 billion impact.
State funding for the university topped $197 million in 2016, “leading to substantial economic activity generated by the university — a 20-to-1 return based on direct university spending,” the report read.
Horrell noted 95,000 students have graduated from CU Denver as of August 2018 with 71 percent of those graduates living in Colorado.
The presentation called these graduates a “who’s who of business leaders, elected officials, nonprofit and education notables.”
CU Denver graduates wind up earning 8 percent more than their peers as they get into their careers, according to university data.
Looking at graduates’ median incomes 10 years after graduation, CU Denver students with an undergraduate degree were earning $61,107 while the median income for graduates from all other four-year institutions in the state was $56,413. For master’s graduates, the comparisons between median incomes became $75,153 to $68,646, and, for Ph.D.s, $110,499 to $94,515, according to CU Denver.
Horrell was most excited about the potential for CU Denver students, faculty and staff to become the go-to resource for learning how to better serve the city. With experts teaching in subjects such as affordable housing, transportation, health disparities, educational inequalities, gentrification, arts and culture, governance and sustainable development, Horrell said CU Denver is poised to find solutions for some of the city’s most pressing problems.
“Look back on the recent mayoral election and City Council, and these are the issues on people’s mind,” Horrell said. “How can we partner to bring insight into solutions and alternatives that ought to be considered?”