IU delivers $9.9 billion impact on state, high return on investment for students and taxpayers

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For every $10,000 in tax dollars spent educating IU students, taxpayers will receive an average of $24,000 in return over the course of the students’ working lives. (Photo by Eric Rudd, Indiana University)

Indiana University added $9.9 billion in income to Indiana’s economy in FY 2018-19 through its investments in the educational success of its students, research and innovation, and engagement in the economic development, health and well-being of Hoosier communities across the state.

Expressed in terms of employment, IU’s impact supported 151,015 jobs, according to the results of a new economic impact study released recently during a meeting of the IU Board of Trustees. The “Economic Value of Indiana University” study also indicated that:
• One out of every 26 jobs in Indiana is supported by IU and the activities of its students.

  • For every $10,000 students invest in their education at IU, they will receive $35,000 in higher future earnings.
  • For every $10,000 in tax dollars spent educating IU students, taxpayers will receive an average of $24,000 in return over the course of the students’ working lives.
  • For every $10,000 that society invests in IU, Indiana will see $48,000 in benefits over the students’ working lives.

The study was commissioned by the university and conducted by Emsi, a leading provider of economic impact studies and labor market data to educational institutions in the U.S. and internationally. Applying a conservative methodology and using only the most recognized indicators of economic impact and investment effectiveness, the study examined the economic impacts of IU’s spending across the state’s major industries and the costs associated with IU educational activities from the perspective of students, taxpayers and society at large.

It was produced in conjunction with IU’s Bicentennial Strategic Plan, which was just successfully completed, and IU’s Bicentennial Year, which the university commemorated between July 1, 2019, and June 30, 2020. As such, the results of the study underscore the university’s vital role in contributing to the economic life and well-being of the state as it begins its third century of operations.

“The results of this study demonstrate the enormous impact IU continues to have in contributing to a prosperous, productive and innovative Indiana economy,” IU President Michael A. McRobbie said. “Through our core missions to ensure student achievement, conduct world-class research and innovation, and engage our expertise and resources in the communities we serve, IU is helping to drive the state’s talent strategy, support high-quality jobs, generate major revenue, and contribute to a pervasive entrepreneurial culture throughout the university and our state.

“Importantly, IU students are seeing a high rate of return for their investment in IU, as indicated by higher future earnings that will continue to grow throughout their working lives, happier and healthier lifestyles, and highly active involvement in their local communities. All of this translates into a wide range of economic and societal benefits in our state, including increased consumer spending, lower reliance on income assistance and national health care services, and high levels of volunteer work, community leadership and philanthropic giving.”

The $9.9 billion in income that IU delivered to the state’s economy in FY 2018-19 is equal to the sum of the university’s operations, research and construction spending impacts; the impact of its startup and spinoff companies; visitor and student spending impacts; and IU alumni impact.

For context, the study determined that IU’s impact was equal to approximately 2.7 percent of the total gross state product of Indiana. The contribution that the university provided on its own is larger than the entire accommodation and food services industry in the state.

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