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URI’s impact on Rhode Island’s economy: Highlights

one-page economic impact highlights

Download a PDF copy of the key messages in the economic impact report.

URI as an enterprise

  • The University of Rhode Island is a major enterprise in its own right, with operating revenues in fiscal year 2012 totaling nearly $469 million* – more than half of which are derived from sources outside the state.
  • In the fall of 2012, URI employed 3,675 people (excluding students) at its four campuses, 65 percent of whom worked full-time.
  • In fiscal year 2012 URI spent $45 million on purchases of goods and services from businesses and institutions in Rhode Island, directly supporting more than 300 full-time-equivalent (FTE) jobs.
  • URI spent $86.4 million in fiscal year 2012 on construction and renovation of campus facilities, including $57.2 million paid to Rhode Island-based contractors – directly supporting 429 FTE jobs in construction and related industries.
  • Taking into account direct University spending on payroll, purchasing and construction, off-campus spending by out-of-state students and visitors, and the indirect and induced (or “multiplier”) effects of this spending, we estimate that in fiscal year 2012 URI directly and indirectly accounted for:
    • More than 8,200 jobs – about 1.9 percent of all wage and salary employment in Rhode Island;
    • $392.6 million in wages; and
    • $726.4 million in statewide economic output.

Developing Rhode Island’s human capital

  • As the leading provider of four-year undergraduate and graduate education to Rhode Island residents, URI plays a central role in the development of the state’s human capital.
  • As of the fall of 2011, 16,654 students were enrolled in for-credit programs at URI, 61 percent of whom were Rhode Island residents, and 39 percent of whom came to URI from other states.
  • Between 2006 and 2011, enrollment at URI grew by 8.3 percent – an increase of 1,265 students.
  • URI offers students a wide range of opportunities to prepare for careers in industries and occupations that play a central role in Rhode Island’s economy, in fields such as engineering, biotechnology, health care, ocean science, international business and many others.
  • Internships and other forms of “experiential learning” play a central role in the educational process at URI. Each year about 4,200 URI students participate in some type of practicum or internship – most of them with Rhode Island businesses, institutions and other organizations.
  • As of the summer of 2012, more than 48,400 URI alumni lived in Rhode Island – a number equivalent to approximately 22 percent of all Rhode Island residents with at least a four-year degree.
  • We cannot say with certainty how many of URI’s in-state alumni would not have earned a four-year or graduate degree without the opportunities that URI provides. However, if we assume that half of these 48,400 URI graduates would not otherwise have been able to earn a bachelor’s or graduate degree, we can estimate that in 2011 the education that URI provided to its alumni living in Rhode Island:
    • Added more than $500 million to these graduates’ aggregate earnings; and
    • Added approximately $3.5 billion to Rhode Island’s gross domestic product.

The impact of University research

  • In fiscal year 2012, research spending at URI totaled $100.2 million – an increase of 64 percent since fiscal year 2007. During a severe and prolonged recession, URI research has thus represented a notable area of growth for Rhode Island.
  • The federal government accounted for 80 percent of URI’s research funding in fiscal year 2012; and state and local government funding accounted for 16 percent.
  • Research conducted at URI is helping to discover and develop the new knowledge that in the years ahead will provide a foundation for economic growth in areas such ocean science and technology, offshore energy development, the life sciences, nanotechnology and cyber security.

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* Source: URI Audited Financial Statement Fiscal 2012

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