Economic Impact

UNC releases economic impact report for North Carolina, UNCP

The University of North Carolina at Pembroke creates significant value for the state, region and Robeson County, according to a UNC General Administration study that was released on February 18, 2015.

The study, titled “Demonstrating the Collective Economic Value of the University of North Carolina System,” examined the statewide benefits of all 16 universities and two hospitals. The study broke out UNC Pembroke’s economic impact statewide, in its nine-county regional service area and in Robeson County.

The first-ever study used data from the 2012-13 fiscal year. Companion studies released at the same time disclosed the economic impact of the state’s community colleges and private colleges and universities.

The focus of the economic impact study was on value created through operations, research, construction, medical care and student and visitor spending. The university system also creates value through its mission to increase the employability and income of its graduates.

The analysis shows that in the 2012-13 fiscal year, UNCP’s payroll and operations spending of $116.4 million, together with its construction and student, alumni and visitor spending, created a total of $389.9 million in added state income. This is the equivalent of creating 6,622 new jobs.

In UNCP’s service region – Robeson, Bladen, Columbus, Scotland, Hoke, Cumberland, Richmond, Moore and Brunswick counties – the university created $256.3 million in added regional income in 2012-13, the equivalent of 5,171 jobs.

In Robeson County, spending by UNCP created $152 million in added county income. The amount is 5.5 percent of the gross county product of Robeson and equivalent to 3,178 jobs.

UNCP students paid $28.1 million in tuition, books, fees and supplies. While students lost $102 million in wages while they were in college, their investment returned $405.5 million in estimated additional earning over their working careers.

State and local taxpayers invested $59.5 million in the operations of UNCP in 2012-13. Factoring in added taxes paid by graduates over their lifetime and savings to the public sector because of reduced demand for government-funded services, every dollar North Carolina taxpayers invested in UNCP returned $4.20 in benefits.

From an even wider perspective, every dollar that society spent on education at UNCP during 2012-13 returned $10.20 in benefits to North Carolina communities. UNC Pembroke Chancellor Kyle R. Carter said the report confirms that the university not only uplifts individuals, it uplifts entire communities.

“This study validates the state’s investment in higher education in North Carolina and demonstrates UNC Pembroke’s significant contribution to our region of the state,” said Chancellor Carter. “Our alumni, faculty, staff and students contribute daily to the economy of Robeson and surrounding counties, in addition to our role in developing an educated, engaged workforce for the community.”

This was the first all-inclusive study of the economic impact of higher education in North Carolina. It was compiled by Economic Modeling Specialists International using data from the community colleges and universities, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau.

Higher education is a key economic driver in North Carolina, the study found, with business and industry relying on the state’s education institutions to produce skilled employees and foster innovation and entrepreneurship. North Carolina colleges and universities also generate strong returns on investment for students, who benefit from higher lifetime earnings, and communities across the state, which realize societal savings, according to the study.

The total impact of the higher education was $63.5 billion, and UNC system’s impact is $27.9 billion in added state income in 2013-13. There were 221,070 students in the state’s public universities, and there are 850,000 UNC system alumni living in North Carolina.

The study also found that while taxpayers invested $4.3 billion to support higher education in North Carolina during fiscal year 2012-13, the return on that investment totaled $17 billion.

For the larger study of UNC’s 16 campuses, the impact of research ($1.5 billion), clinical operations of hospitals ($2.3 billion), business start-ups ($1.4 billion) and agricultural extension service ($112.1 million) were factored in.

“The UNC system is a treasure this state has built over many generations, and it has allowed North Carolina to prosper by producing great talent and attracting new businesses needed to build a strong economy and a better quality of life,” said UNC President Thomas W. Ross. “As confirmed by this study, it continues to deliver a solid and dependable return on investment for students, North Carolina communities, and the taxpayers. We are working more closely than ever before with the community colleges and the state’s private colleges and universities to leverage our respective strengths and resources for the benefit of students and the state.”

The full text of the UNC system report, along with statewide analysis, is available at