Executive Summary

The University of Wisconsin System plays a significant role in Wisconsin’s economy. This 2018 economic impact study identifies the following annual impact areas, based on 2016-17 fiscal year data:

  • Total economic impact on the Wisconsin economy: $24 billion
  • Number of jobs generated and supported: 167,000
  • Local and state taxes generated: $1.1 billion
  • Percentage of private-sector benefit: 75%, or $18 billion — Overall, private sector companies receive 75% of the economic benefit that comes from UW System activity. This amounts to $18 billion annually.

This study updates the 2002 economic impact study completed by NorthStar Economics and indicates the University of Wisconsin System’s impact has more than doubled in that timeframe. The largest contributors to the UW System’s economic impact are the UW System campuses, followed by UW Hospitals, UW startups, UW student spending, UW visitor spending, UW Research Park, and UW affiliated organizations.

The study shows a 23:1 return on investment for every dollar invested by the State of Wisconsin. These dollars spent in local and regional areas generate jobs and taxes as they cycle through the local economies across the entire state.

Photo of Matt Kleine (left), who was among the first to begin working at the Sentry IT Co-op with manager Steve Fox. A December graduate of UW-Stevens Point, Matt is now a full-time associate with Sentry Insurance. (UW-Stevens Point photo)