Economic Impact Study
Overall Economic Impact of UW System on the Wisconsin Economy
The UW System had an economic impact of over $24 billion for the 2016-17 fiscal year. The largest source of this economic impact comes from the direct spending (and subsequent indirect and induced spending cycles) of UW System campuses. Spending on operations, as well as employee salaries and benefits (subsequently spent in local and regional economies – see Figure 1), accounted for nearly $12 billion of UW System’s overall
The second largest contributor to UW System’s economic impact is UW Hospitals and Clinics, an organization long affiliated with the University of Wisconsin–Madison. UW Hospitals was established as a public authority in 1996 but has deep and continuing ties to the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. UW Hospitals accounted for $3.5 billion of UW System’s overall economic impact in the 2016-17 fiscal year.
The third largest contributor to UW System’s economic impact is startup companies, many of which are founded by professors and staff conducting research at the UW System. The data in this calculation comes from startups out of UW-Madison. Approximately 350 startups came from UW-Madison and accounted for $3 billion of the UW System’s overall economic impact.
Additional startup and established companies located in UW Research Park in Madison, Wis., accounted for $1.1 billion of the UW System’s impact on Wisconsin’s economy in 2016-17.
The next largest contributor to UW System’s economic impact is the spending of UW students who are located on campuses across the state. With 2016-17 fall enrollment slightly above 175,000, student spending accounted for $2.2 billion of the UW System’s overall economic impact.
Another large contributor to UW System’s economic impact is visitor spending. Visitors include sports fans, conference attendees, service workers and vendors, film and music event attendees, parents and relatives visiting students, visitors to UW employees, visitors to UW hospital patients, prospective students and parent visitors, and sports camp attendees. The overall economic impact of these visitors in 2016-17 was nearly $2 billion.
The last contributing sector is affiliated UW System organizations. These affiliated organizations include foundations, intellectual property organizations, sports related entities, and other affiliates. This sector, which is largely composed of non-profit organizations, contributed $316 million to the UW System’s 2016-17 economic impact.