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Boise State Generates Eight Times What the State Allocates — Far More When Alumni Are Included

By: Anna Webb   Published 12:23 pm / January 24, 2018

Aerial photo of campus

Boise State University and its alumni drove nearly $1.9 billion in Idaho in fiscal year 2015, according to a report commissioned by the university and conducted by Tripp Umbach, a national economic analysis group.

Boise State’s direct and indirect activity, according to the report, generated $667.2 million in the state for that chosen year, mostly in the Boise metropolitan area. The study found the university is also a major employment driver, generating 6,987 jobs — whether that’s through direct employment with the university or through other industries including real estate, rental activity, hotels and motels, food services, hospitals and more that benefit from the university’s activities.

The report also emphasizes the role of Boise State alumni in the university’s ongoing support of the state. Boise State has helped build the state’s workforce over time, as close to 68 percent of Boise State graduates stay in Idaho and contribute to the state’s economy. Bronco alumni living in Idaho in 2015 contributed approximately $1.2 billion to the state’s economy that year alone.

Among key findings: For every $1 the state allocated to Boise State in FY2015, the university returned $8 in economic activity. When the contributions and impact of Boise State alumni were included, that benefit tripled to $24.

Industry leaders have credited Boise State and its programs as leading drivers in their decisions to move to or expand in Idaho’s largest city.

Recently at a summit on innovation sponsored by AT&T, then-Hewlett-Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman credited the university for helping grow talent in emerging technologies like cybersecurity and augmented reality.

“You can go to places like Boise, Idaho, where at Boise State, the top 40 or 50 kids in engineering at Boise State are just as good as they are at Stanford or MIT or Cal Tech,” she said.

To arrive at the economic impact estimates, the study looked at several areas, including employment, taxes, research, work force, alumni and athletics.

The analysts wrote that while it’s a common misperception that public universities do not generate tax revenue, Boise State generated $34 million in state and local taxes in 2015.

Boise State University’s rapidly expanding research efforts drove $35.4 million in economic activity in 2015 and created 210 Idaho jobs. The university’s capital projects created $57.2 million in economic activity and supported and sustained 431 jobs.

Athletics, too, have helped fill the state’s coffers. In 2015, Boise State Athletics had a total impact on the state of $102 million through payroll and department spending, but also from visitors from outside the area.

Since the study year of FY2015, Boise State has welcomed two record-setting first-year classes and has continued to grow research expenditures as well as graduate and doctoral offerings.

Today, about one-third of all students in Idaho’s entire public higher education system are enrolled at Boise State, and the university awards nearly half of all bachelor’s degrees conferred by Idaho’s public institutions.

View the full report here.