©2018 Michigan Economic Development Corporation

Michigan Public Universities Have Significant Economic Impact

Thursday, July 11, 2002

Jennifer Kopp
(517) 335-4590

Institutions Contribute $39 Billion to State’s Economy

Michigan’s 15 public universities have a significant economic impact on the state’s economy, according to a study commissioned by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and the Presidents Council, State Universities of Michigan.The study, conducted by SRI International, measured how the combination of public and private investment in four-year universities contributes to the state’s economy.

State public universities annually contribute an estimated $39 billion to Michigan’s economy.For each dollar of the state government's share of the universities' operating cost, the state's economy receives a return of $26 collectively.Included in this rate of return are expenditures by the university faculty, students and visitors; business spin-offs; and other technology transfer activity.

The model used for this study calculates the direct and indirect economic impact of Michigan’s public universities in 1999, the latest year for which the necessary data were available.

“This is a significant rate of return for a public investment,” said Doug Rothwell, president and CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.“It demonstrates the unique and powerful role universities play in enhancing the state’s economic vitality.”

The significant rate of return is primarily a result of higher earnings among college graduates versus non-college graduates.According to the study, this rate will continue to grow as earnings of university graduates continue to increase at a faster rate than the earnings of those without a university degree.This study affirms the value of Michigan’s investment in higher education, especially in light of recent data that shows Michigan retains an impressive 79 percent of its public university graduates.

“The results of the first statewide university economic impact study reinforces the value of education to the state and its citizens,” said Glenn Stevens, executive director of the President’s Council, State Universities of Michigan.“In very practical terms, the state realizes a tremendous return on its investment in its state universities.”

The Presidents Council, State Universities of Michigan and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation created the Partnership for Economic Progress designed to strengthen Michigan’s economy in an increasingly competitive workplace.The partnership recognizes the important role Michigan universities play in economic development.

To view a copy of this report on line CLICK HERE.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, a partnership between the state and local communities, promotes smart economic growth by developing strategies and providing services to create and retain good jobs and a high quality of life.