Adding Income to the State Economy

The money spent by NC State creates a ripple effect of additional spending by businesses and individuals across the state, generating $6.5 billion in annual added income to boost North Carolina’s economy.

Direct Spending

Operations spending — NC State’s expenditures to support day-to-day operations are a robust driver of the state’s economy.

Research spending — NC State’s research expenditures do more than pay employees and purchase equipment; they also result in the discovery of new products and services that will further stimulate the economy.

Construction spending — As a premier research enterprise, NC State constantly builds new facilities and renovates existing ones to meet students’ needs and stay at the forefront of interdisciplinary innovation.

Added Income,
Statewide 
Added Income,
Triangle Region
Added Income,
Wake County
Operations spending $504.6 million $805 million $795.3 million
Research spending $387 million $382.9 million $395.4 million
Construction spending $44.8 million $79.6 million $73.1 million

Entrepreneurship and Extension

University-related startups — NC State is known for fostering entrepreneurship that results in the formation of startup businesses based on research conducted at the university.

Extension activities — The North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, a partnership between NC State and North Carolina A&T State University, provides services to citizens in all 100 North Carolina counties and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. NC State’s Industrial Extension Service helps North Carolina manufacturers improve efficiency and increase profitability by providing coaching and training.

Added Income,
Statewide 
Added Income,
Triangle Region
Added Income,
Wake County
University startups $1.2 billion $1.1 billion $471.1 million
Extension activities $103 million Not computed Not computed

$1.2 Billion in Added Income From NC State Startups

North Carolina reaps the fruits of our research.

Individual Impacts

Out-of-state student spending — A sizable portion of NC State’s students relocated to North Carolina to attend school at the university, and the money they spend on rent, groceries, transportation and the like is directly attributable to NC State’s presence.

Visitor spending — Out-of-state visitors who come to NC State for campus tours, sporting events or other occasions infuse the economy with the money they spend while in the area.

Alumni — NC State alumni who are employed in the North Carolina workforce are using the skills they learned here to excel at the jobs of today and create the jobs of tomorrow.

Added Income,
Statewide 
Added Income,
Triangle Region
Added Income,
Wake County
Out-of-state students $60 million $133 million $126.4 million
Visitors $17.6 million $26.8 million $26.5 million
Alumni $4.2 billion $2.3 billion $1.5 billion

Return on Investment

The money spent on NC State is more than just a line item in a budget. It’s an investment in the future of students, taxpayers and society as a whole — an investment that repays itself many times over.

Return on investment for students — Students who attend NC State pay for tuition, fees and books, and they forgo money they would have earned if they had been working instead of attending school. Fortunately, their investment pays off over the rest of their working lives.

Every $1 spent on NC State by students returns $3 in lifetime student income.

Return on investment for taxpayers — A large portion of NC State’s annual budget comes from state and local taxpayers. Those taxpayers benefit when NC State students graduate, enter the workforce and become taxpayers themselves.

Every $1 spent on NC State by taxpayers returns $3.80 in increased tax revenue and decreased demand for government-funded services.

Return on investment for society as a whole — The entire state of North Carolina will benefit from added state income over the course of NC State students’ working lives, and communities will benefit from the social savings resulting from reduced crime, lower unemployment and improved health and well-being across the state.

Every $1 spent on NC State by society as a whole returns $9 in added state income and social savings.

Note: All data apply to fiscal year 2012-13. Our estimated economic impacts are conservative because we take into account the fact that state dollars spent on the university could have been spent elsewhere in North Carolina instead, resulting in some economic impacts regardless. We account for this fact by:

  • assuming that if funds were not directed to NC State, they would have been returned to the taxpayers, generating economic impacts through household spending;
  • and subtracting the estimated economic impacts generated by this household spending from the estimated economic impacts generated by NC State.

Thus, we report a net economic impact for the amount of money spent on NC State that is above and beyond the economic impact of returning the same amount of money to the taxpayers.

Source: Economic Modeling Specialists International, 2015.

Two figures silhouetted against a North Carolina data visualization at NC State's Hunt Library.