CU Boulder generated more than $3.3 billion in economic activity across Colorado in the 2021–22 academic year, according to a new analysis the CU system published. The Leeds Business Research Division (BRD) conducted the study.
To assess the economic impact of each campus and the university system as a whole, BRD evaluated employee earnings, student worker earnings, operating expenditures, construction, research and visitor spending. Researchers also evaluated the impact of innovation, tech transfer, skills and training and alumni in the workforce.
“CU Boulder’s mission is to serve the state of Colorado, and this study gives us clear data on some of the ways our university community shapes the state and leads to its economic prosperity,” said Chancellor Phil DiStefano. “Through research and creative work, teaching, employment and our engaged alumni base, we are proud that our work has such a positive impact.”
The study found CU Boulder contributed more than $1.5 billion to the Colorado economy via labor incoming in the 2021–22 academic year.
In service of the educational mission, the report marked 36,430 full-time equivalent students enrolled as of fall 2022. The campus awarded 9,646 degrees in the 2021–22 academic year. CU Boulder has more than 153,000 alumni across Colorado.
CU Boulder students added more than $673 million in spending across the state from July 2021 to June 2022, the study said. BRD uses prior student surveys to determine the spending of students who would not otherwise be studying and living in Colorado.
Campus visitors contributed more than $33 million split amongst their spending on hotels, restaurants and recreation, according to the report.
The study showed CU Boulder research awards accounted for $658 million coming to Colorado in the 2021-22 academic year, a 3.7% increase from the previous year. Roughly 72% of that funding came from federal contracts.
The university also contributed to many innovative new endeavors, with 175 inventions, 59 license and option agreements and 12 startups from CU technology in the 2020–21 academic year, which was the latest available data from CU Boulder Venture Partners at the time of the report.