UT Arlington has $12.8 billion impact on North Texas
By Office of Communication
Posted on October 02, 2012, October 02, 2012

The University of Texas at Arlington not only provides higher education opportunities, but its ongoing operations, and student and visitor spending also fuel a vital economic engine that directly contributes about $1 billion yearly to the local economy.

University officials on Friday released an economic impact study from the Perryman Group consulting firm that also revealed that UTA's regional benefit extends even further.

When factoring in the spinoff effects of UTA research and alumni who are employed in the area, the university posts a $12.8 billion annual overall economic impact in North Texas, which reflects roughly 4 percent of the entire regional economy, the report states. The university's statewide benefit was estimated at $13.6 billion.

"UT Arlington is vital to the economic well-being and the future of Texas," UTA President James Spaniolo said Friday when he presented the study's results at the school's Leadership Summit made of up donors and university and local leaders.

He said UTA contracted with the Perryman Group to "take a step back and look at the university's impact on the community."

"They discovered to some extent what we all knew: UT Arlington is a significant driver of the North Texas economy," he said. "The numbers are truly impressive."

Recent and ongoing campus construction -including the College Park development, a partnership with the City of Arlington-also added just over $502 million to the local economy, the report stated.

Economist Ray Perryman, who conducted the study, and Spaniolo both said those building efforts, which have yielded a wave of new restaurants that will open this fall, have created an environment where more students want to spend time at UTA, further benefitting local coffers.

Spaniolo said 5,300 students currently live on the UTA campus with another 1,100 living nearby in off-campus housing and apartments. UTA enrollment is currently just over 33,200 students.

"We may not be 24-7 yet, but we're getting close," Spaniolo said of campus activity.

The additions and changes at UTA also give alumni who live in the area new reasons to visit.

Perryman said he was surprised by the large number of UTA graduates who stay nearby once they graduate. Roughly 100,000 UTA alumni call North Texas home.

"It's a very large university and they keep their graduates in the area," he said. "The live and work here. It adds a lot to the economy."

Spaniolo said the university's challenge is "to engage as many of those 100,000 as we can."

The luncheon also served as an opportunity to announce a record year for private giving with just over $23 million donated to the school, $8 million more than any past year. Several recent grants came from former UTA students.

"I'm so excited about our philanthropic level of giving this year," Spaniolo said. "We're trying to tell them, "Look at what your investment will yield.'

"This is an affirmation of our university. It will make such a difference in so many areas. UT Arlington has entered a new era."

By Laurie Fox

North Texas

News, UT Arlington