Gov. John Bel Edwards announced the Louisiana Economic Development grant during an event Friday that celebrated Waitr’s new downtown headquarters.
A recent study concluded that the University of Louisiana System, comprising nine member institutions including UL Lafayette, contributed $10.9 billion to the state’s economy during the 2017–2018 fiscal year. That’s 4.5 percent of the gross state product.
Economic Modeling Specialists International conducted the study and completed the report, which was issued Thursday. Read the study’s executive summary here.
The report shows that the system’s universities support a variety of business and industries in Louisiana, expand economic opportunities and improve the quality of lives for the state’s residents, said Dr. Jim Henderson, the system’s president and CEO.
“The Universities of Louisiana, with more than 91,500 students and hundreds of thousands of alumni, are not only ingrained in the fabric of the communities they call home, they are economic drivers for the state as a whole,” he said in a system press release.
“Through research and shared knowledge, our universities foster innovation and entrepreneurship making them a worthy long-term investment for the people of Louisiana.”
One out of every 18 jobs in the state – a total of 149,662 – are supported by the Universities of Louisiana. Benefits created by the system extend to state government through increased tax revenues and public sector savings.
The study also included an investment analysis to evaluate benefits to students and taxpayers. For every dollar students invest in a UL System education, they will see a return of $3.80.
Graduates with bachelor’s degrees from UL System institutions will see an average increase in annual earnings of $22,300 when compared to someone with only a high school diploma working in the state.
“The system provides a significant return on investment for the state. Beyond the quality of life benefits that come with a more-educated populous, for every dollar taxpayers invest in a UL System student $5.90 is returned to the state,” Henderson explained.
The system benefits society with increased economic opportunities, which reduce dependence on government services, decrease crime rates and improve health outcomes. The societal benefit is valued at $10 for every dollar invested, the study showed.
The system last measured its economic impact in 2008. That study showed a $3.4 billion economic contribution to the state’s economy, but was conducted before the University of New Orleans joined the system.
UL Lafayette released an individual economic impact study in 2017. It showed the University had a statewide economic impact of $379 million in fiscal year 2015.
For every $1 in state funds contributed to UL Lafayette’s budget, the University generated $6.83 in statewide economic impact. Read the report here.