New Report Shows Univ. Of Florida’s Extensive Economic Impact On State

Published: February 1 2001

Category:Business, Florida, Research

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Just days after the release of a proposed budget recommending decreased spending on universities, a new University of Florida report details a return on investment that would be the envy of any stockholder: For every $1 million the state spends on UF, the university generates an additional $4.65 million in funding from other sources.

The report, which outlines the institution’s impact on the state, also shows that if revenues of the university were compared to revenues and sales of the state’s largest public companies, the university would be the 13th largest company in the state.

Those numbers don’t even count “customers” (students number more than 40,000 every semester, and thousands more are served by extension offices in every county) or spending (which exceeded $2.67 billion in fiscal year 1999-2000).

The figures add up to an estimated $2.82 billion that was spent in Florida by the university and its related organizations, employees, students and visitors in 1999-2000. When indirect impact of university expenditures is added to the direct spending of the university, the annual impact of UF is an estimated $3.2 billion. The total impact is more than six times the state investment of $511 million for 1999-2000.

“Our fundamental mission remains the education of our student and the advancement of knowledge through research, but we also recognize that we have an obligation to try and improve opportunities for all Floridians,” UF President Charles Young wrote to introduce the study. “This report indicates that we take that responsibility very seriously.”

The “Economic Impact of the University of Florida on the State of Florida” report is an update of an initial 1996 study. Both are part of an ongoing effort to quantify the economic influence of the university, its students and its alumni on the state.

“We believe this shows the University of Florida remains an outstanding investment for the state, as an educational institution and as a major economic stimulus for the state economy,” said UF Provost David Colburn.

Many might think tuition and state funding pay for most of the university’s functions. But the report shows that tuition accounts for only about 4 percent of the total revenues, and direct appropriations from the state account for only 18 percent of the budget.

Other funding sources from 11 separate categories include sponsored research (9.6 percent); university-affiliated hospitals (33.8 percent); grants, donations and private support (5.3 percent) and support services and local funds (13.7 percent).

On the other side of the budget equation, the university spent more than $1.3 billion in the state in 1999-2000 on employee salaries and benefits. Analysts estimated that about $819 million of that money represents “spendable income,” money that UF employees used to pay for housing, food, entertainment and transportation in the state.

Construction at the University of Florida topped $38.8 million in 1999-2000, about 1.5 percent of the total operating budget and almost half of what the university spent for construction in 1996-97.

About 1.2 million visitors came to the University of Florida in 1999-2000 for reasons that range from art exhibitions to lectures to sporting events. The report estimates visitors spend $45 million in that year, much of which was generated by Gator football. And those numbers don’t include the estimated 300,000 people who visit the university’s health-care facilities.

The university’s main responsibility — education — also has had a profound impact on the state, the report shows.

According to the most current data from the Florida Education and Training Placement Information Program, of those who received bachelor’s degrees from 1990-91 to 1996-97, more than half work in-state, drawing an average annual salary of $35,768. Forty-four percent of UF’s master’s students work in Florida, with an average salary of $45,231, while 21 percent of doctoral students work in Florida. Their salary averages just over $50,000 a year.

For more statistics and information, the complete report is available online at



  • John C. Lester


Category:Business, Florida, Research