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Economic Impact

Published January 26, 2016

Operations of the University at Buffalo directly or indirectly affect residents throughout New York, generating $2.18 billion annually in overall economic impact. As a result of expenditures on goods and services by UB, its faculty, staff, students and visitors, the overall economic impact of UB operations on the State of New York in FY 13-14 was $659.9 million direct impact and $1.5 billion indirect and induced (a total of $2.18 billion). For every dollar the state appropriates to UB, the university returns $13.9 back to the state in economic activity. The university supports 19,715 jobs in the State of New York. According to NYS labor statistics, one out of every 386 jobs in the state, and one in every 29 jobs in the WNY area, is attributable to UB.

New York State Impact

University at Buffalo Economic Impact

UB supports 19,715 jobs in the State of New York. According to NYS labor statistics, one out of every 386 jobs in the state is attributable to the university. These jobs (both full-time and part-time) include not only direct employment by the university, but also indirect and induced jobs created by supply and equipment vendors; contractors; and laborers for the University facilities improvements; and jobs created in the community at hotels, restaurants, and retail stores in support of the University’s workforce and its visitors.

UB directly employed 7,219 people during FY 13-14. The university supports thousands of jobs statewide in virtually every sector of the New York economy; such as construction, business and professional services, restaurants and hotels, information technology, security, and temporary employment companies. These indirect/induced jobs (12,496 jobs) support the more than 7,200 jobs held by New York residents directly employed by the university. 

Western New York Impact

The university’s operations are impactful throughout the Buffalo-Niagara Area where UB has a total impact of $1.76 billion. 

  • $526.9 million in direct expenditures throughout the Buffalo-Niagara Area
  • $1.23 billion in indirect and induced expenditures that circulated throughout the area due to the operations of UB
  • In 2013/2014 UB spent over $17 million dollars of its operating budget with businesses classified as Minority and Woman Owned Businesses
  • one in every 32 dollars in economic activity in the Buffalo-Niagara Area is directly or indirectly attributable to the operations of UB
  • UB supports and sustains 18,591 jobs in the Erie and Niagara County Area, including the 6,966 jobs directly held by members of these counties at UB and the 11,625 jobs which are related to UB operations and student and employee spending. 
  • In WNY, UB jobs directly or indirectly account for one in every 29 jobs.

Impact of UB Research

The expenditures due to the research conducted with UB during FY 13-14 resulted in an overall economic impact of $731.9 million, and UB’s operational and capital expenditures for sponsored research and other sponsored programs supported 4,372 jobs. These jobs include not only UB’s direct employment of research professionals, but also indirect jobs created by supply and equipment vendors, contractors, and laborers for the construction and renovation of laboratory facilities, administrators and managers who support the research infrastructure, and jobs created in the community by the disposable income of the scientific workforce.

The University’s research operations make tangible and quantifiable economic contributions. Along with creating jobs for research staff and support personnel, UB scientists are contributing to new product development and technology commercialization. Knowledge and technology transfers have helped to start commercial ventures that promote entrepreneurship, economic development, and job creation.

Tax Revenue Impact

State and local government revenues attributable to the presence of UB totaled nearly $154.7 million in FY 13-14, of which $130.2 million is in Erie and Niagara counties. This current impact is expected to grow substantially as the Downtown Campus continues to grow; this campus houses the biomedical sciences and research within UB and continues collaborations with the other medical partners at the Buffalo-Niagara Medical Campus. The construction project alone is currently adding $1 billion in spending to the local and state economy.

Through its local spending, as well as direct and indirect support of jobs, the presence of the University stabilizes and strengthens the local and statewide tax base. UB is an integral part of the state’s economy – generating revenue, jobs, and spending.

Other Ways in Which UB Benefits the State and Region

UB’s total impact on the State of New York goes beyond its annual operational expenditures.  The qualitative value and impact of the University goes far beyond its annual multi-billion dollar economic impact. Through its academic programs, UB is helping to grow New York State by educating the highly skilled workforce that will be needed to compete in a global economy, providing the next generation of innovators with a firm foundation upon which to grow their own ideas and helping to build the next generation of scholars. Moreover, UB provides the larger community with access to faculty experts, adds richness and diversity to the region’s cultural offerings, imports culture from outside of the country with international students, has provided the research expertise, and is growing its new campus to become recognized throughout the world as a center of cutting-edge biomedical research collaborations with multiple hospitals to create a biomedical research cluster.  On a daily basis, the lives of those in the surrounding communities are significantly enhanced by UB's presence in a multitude of ways. 

UB Educates the Future Workforce of both Buffalo and New York State

UB educates the workforce that New York needs to successfully compete in the 21st Century global economy. Nearly 8,000 students graduate every year from UB and are essential to meeting the state’s human capital and workforce needs. In FY 13-14, the university conferred 7,561 degrees. About 77% of graduates will stay in New York and contribute to the state economy.

UB Alumni Play a Vital Role in the New York Economy

By educating students, UB adds to the talent pool of human capital in New York. A UB degree increases a graduate’s value, productivity, and earning potential in the job market. Based on data on median annual earnings for university graduates in 2008 from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, a bachelor’s degree earned at a university increases a graduate's salary by an average of $20,748 a year compared with a high school graduate’s salary (from $32,552 to $53,300), while a graduate degree earned at a university increases a graduate's salary, when compared to a bachelor's degree, by an average of $15,756 a year (from $53,300 to $69,056). Considering the average individual’s work life is roughly 40 years, the benefit of earning a college degree provides about $829,920 more in total lifetime wages over an individual whose education stopped after earning a high school diploma.

UB Provides Support to the Community

It is estimated that UB employees and students generate more than $12.5 million annually in charitable donations and volunteer services. These benefits are in addition to the $2.18 billion annual impact and include the following:

  • $9.4 million donated to local charitable organizations by UB employees and students.
  • Nearly $3.1 million in value of volunteer time provided to area communities by UB employees and students.

UB Community Programs:

  • Alternative Break – UB’s Alternative Break offers its students the opportunity to participate in meaningful service projects over the Spring Break. During the week of Alternative Break, teams of UB students participate in service projects with a nonprofit organization or community partner either locally through “give where you live” initiatives or outside of the local community, or even country. The objective of the Alternative Break program is to involve students in service projects to learn about the problems of a community they would typically not know about.
  • Buffalo Partnership Project – Faculty and doctoral students in UB’s Graduate School of Education work with students from Lafayette High School, a school designated for refugees emigrating to Buffalo because of traumatic or life-threatening circumstances.
  • Day of Caring – As part of the University’s annual United Way campaign, members of the UB community (including faculty, staff, students, and alumni) devote a day of service to critically needed projects identified by community partners.
  • Days of Service – At UB, serving the community is an integral component of leadership development. Leadership involves a demonstration of active participation and engagement in the community, and a desire to make a positive change. Center for Student Leadership and Community Engagement (CSLCE) sponsors three annual community service projects on and around the UB campuses: 9/11 Day of Service, Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, and UB Pride & Service Day.
  • Growing Food Connections – Communities looking to broaden access to healthy food and sustain local farms and food production have a new resource: www.GrowingFoodConnections.org, a repository of information on food systems  planning. Led by the Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab at the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning in partnership with Cultivating Healthy Places, Ohio State University and American Farmland Trust, Growing Food Connections will target 10 “Communities of Opportunity” – communities poised to tackle their food access challenges and agricultural viability – with an intensive program of education, training, technical assistance, and extension activities. 
  • iSciWNY – iSciWNY, UB’s life sciences career pathway program, is a comprehensive, life sciences workforce development program dedicated to preparing all Western New Yorkers — not just scientists — for new positions in Buffalo-Niagara’s growing life sciences industry. With a special emphasis on educating students, iSciWNY uses workshops, training programs, an interactive website, and a career pathways kit to demystify the life sciences industry and prepare students for career opportunities. 
  • Saturday of Service – Saturday of Service is a monthly service opportunity for students to volunteer and help serve the local Buffalo and Western New York Community. Students volunteer on a designated Saturday, typically from 9 am to 2 pm, at a number of locations on campus and throughout the community. Each Saturday of Service is also educationally linked to the Advocacy in the Community program offered through the Intercultural and Diversity Center. 
  • Special Olympics – In an effort to raise money to help support the Special Olympics, the students and others at UB participate in the Polar Bear Plunge. Participants gather sponsors for an extremely cold dip into the chilly waters of Lake Erie. 
  • UB a Good Neighbor – UB a Good Neighbor is an initiative where students can show their support for the University Heights area while demonstrating UB pride. Student groups, clubs, organizations, and/or friends are able to sign up to volunteer during a University Heights clean-up on a selected Sunday from 1 - 4 pm. All supplies (gloves, trash bags, water, etc.) are provided as well as a snack afterwards. 
  • UB Dance Marathon – Now in its eighth year, UB Dance Marathon is UB's annual dance party fundraiser. Originally set up to fundraise for the UB Cares Fund, a fund to support victims of natural disasters, tragedies, and catastrophes locally, nationally, and internationally, UB Dance Marathon will now be fundraising for the Children's Miracle Network, and specifically, the Women and Children's Hospital of Buffalo in addition to the UB Cares Fund. 
  • UB On The Green – The university’s free outdoor performance series offers traditional music experiences, as well as focusing each night’s events around a specific theme, designed to welcome neighbors to the university and introduce them to different aspects of UB. 
  • UB the Impact Challenge – The challenge is designed to encourage and recognize those students who participate in and track their service hours. Students who demonstrate dedication to service will be honored at a UB the Impact ceremony during Volunteer Appreciation Week each year. Any student who has completed 500 or more hours of service while in attendance at UB will receive service cords for graduation. 
  • Warm Weather Wednesdays – Warm Weather Wednesdays, which are free and open to all UB students, faculty, staff and the broader Western New York community, showcase activities, such as Frisbee golf, canoeing, and yoga, that take advantage of what may well be the best time of year to experience the UB campus. 

UB Global Impacts

Through the work of UB students, faculty, and alumni, the university is making a positive difference in the local community, as well as all around the world. Through the work done by UB students and faculty applying their knowledge to a range of projects addressing global challenges, UB is able to make a real difference globally. From training earthquake engineers in Haiti to documenting vanishing languages in Cameroon, the research and outreach done at UB changes lives around the world, in addition to changing the lives of the students and faculty.

Through globally focused academic programs and a multicultural learning environment, UB seeks to prepare students for life and work in an interconnected, global society. UB offers opportunities to increase global awareness through their Global Perspectives Academy, Area Studies and Language Programs, and study abroad programs.

Students and faculty at UB are encouraged to have a global perspective and the University facilitates opportunities for students and faculty to apply their knowledge to a range of projects addressing global challenges. Currently, the following initiatives involving UB faculty and students are taking place: 

  • Bringing Hope to HIV/AIDS Patients: Chiedza Maponga, a 1988 UB pharmacy graduate, is working to curb HIV/AIDS infections and increase availability of treatments in his native country of Zimbabwe, where nearly one in five adults have the infection. 
  • Documenting Vanishing Languages: The indigenous languages of Cameroon’s Lower Fungom region are in danger of vanishing, and Jeff Good, an associate professor of linguistics, has made it his work to document them before they do. 
  • Engineering a Safer Future: Following a destructive earthquake in Haiti, MCEER, UB’s national center dedicated to helping communities become natural disaster resilient, partnered with a Haitian university to train engineers and architects to design buildings that can better withstand earthquakes. 
  • Fighting Diseases that Kill Children: Pavani Ram, an associate professor of social and preventive medicine, is looking for simple solutions to pressing public health problems: namely, how to prevent the spread of disease from unsanitary conditions. 
  • Giving Dental Care: Even small gifts can mean the world. That’s what more than 300 UB dental students and residents have learned while providing free dental care in communities around the world.