Published: Sept. 7, 2017
University of Colorado Board of Regents

At its regular meeting on Thursday at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, the Board of Regents heard a presentation from Richard Wobbekind, executive director of the Business Research Division at the Leeds School of Business, on a recently conducted economic impact study.

According to the study, called the CU Economic Impact Analysis, the University of Colorado had an economic impact of $12.35 billion in fiscal year 2015–16 on the state of Colorado. Of that total, the Boulder campus contributed $3.85 billion to the state of Colorado.

“The study demonstrates what we have long known—the University of Colorado is a substantial driver of Colorado’s economy,” said CU President Bruce D. Benson. “We’re proud of the many contributions we make to our state and its quality of life and we intend to continue our efforts to advance Colorado.”

The study also shows that CU Boulder employed over 24,000 employees in fiscal year 2015–16, including those directly working for the university, contractors and employees of businesses that provide services and products to the institution.

The CU system had a $2.57 billion-plus economic impact on Boulder County in fiscal year 2015–16, according to the report.

CU Economic Impact Analysis: Fiscal year 2015–16

CU Boulder contributed to the state:

  • $3.85 billion in economic impact
  • Employment of 24,662 people (including contractors, service providers)

Overall, the CU system contributed to the state:

  • Employment of 53,440 people (including contractors, service providers)
  • $4 billion from employee salaries and benefits
  • $1.7 billion from research activities
  • $834 million from student and visitor spending activity
  • $486 million from construction activity

Preliminary enrollment data

The board heard a report on preliminary enrollment estimates for this semester. Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Todd Saliman reported that enrollment is up on all four campuses, including an estimated 4.3 percent increase from fall 2016 in total enrollment at CU Boulder. The census for the final fall enrollment numbers will occur later in September, and final numbers will be shared at that time.

Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano says the increase in retention reflects the success of programs to more successfully retain continuing students from year to year so they do not leave school without a degree.

“Retention between first and second year is the highest vulnerability period for students,” DiStefano said. “I’m proud to say that CU Boulder has moved that retention rate from 84 percent in 2010 to 87 percent this fall.”

DiStefano says he is excited about the increased retention numbers.

“As you know, our key objective is the success of our students–that they can identify their passion and get a degree in a timely manner at the lowest cost possible for themselves and their families.”

DiStefano added that the campus goal is to retain 92 percent of students between the first and second year.

In other Boulder campus-related board news

By an 8-1 vote, the board approved the re-launch of the Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree program on the Boulder campus. This degree is intended to target the large market for foreign lawyers seeking this degree in the United States and integrating them into the campus’s existing JD program.

The board approved plans for a 19th Street bridge and ADA-compliant pedestrian path that will improve connectivity to Main Campus across Boulder Creek. Eighty percent of the $6 million project cost is to be covered by federal funds via the Denver Regional Council of Governments.