UNCW calculates its economic impact on area
August 24, 2012By Jenny Callison
The University of North Carolina at Wilmington has a more than $1 billion impact on the economy of southeastern North Carolina, the university announced Friday. That’s the conclusion of a study conducted by UNCW’s H. David and Diane Swain Center for Business and Economic Services.
“This is an astounding number,” UNCW Chancellor Gary Miller said in a news release. “It’s a concrete representation of the value of UNC-Wilmington, North Carolina’s coastal university, to our region. Our commitment to the journey of learning extends far beyond the university and has a profound impact throughout the community we serve.”
The study, which looked at data from the 2011-12 academic year, focused on UNCW’s economic impact in four major areas: construction and renovation projects, student spending, spending by faculty and staff members and the campus’ day-to-day operations.
Among the key findings was that UNCW’s economic activity generated more than 9,200 jobs in the region and more than $335 million in labor income, including wages, salaries and self-employment income. The university was also the source of almost $15 million in sales and excise tax collections and almost $13 million in county property tax collections, according to the report.
“Colleges and universities are viewed primarily as organizations providing opportunities for advanced education and venues for the cultural and performing arts and athletic contests,” said William “Woody” Hall, one of the three contributors to the study. “Another impact of higher education, sometimes overlooked, is the effect that the operations of these institutions have on area economic activity.”
Hall, senior economist with the Swain Center, worked with Ed Graham, professor of finance in UNCW’s Cameron School of Business, and Bill Sackley, director of the Swain Center. Their data sources included university records, a survey of a sample of UNCW students and a similar sample of faculty and staff members. The individuals were asked about their spending habits in everything from housing to entertainment.
Hall presented the survey data to the university’s board of trustees at its quarterly meeting Friday.