UPDATE: The University of Idaho has unveiled this page devoted to its economic impact and benefits to the state. The associated video and charts clearly outline the school’s impact.
Education budget cuts in Idaho, like in other states, are having a major impact on the state’s colleges and universities. This week the Idaho State Legislature’s joint budget committee heard from university presidents, all of whom made a case for their institutions.
When University of Idaho President Duane Nellis’ turn came up, he used an EMSI Economic Impact Study — completed last year — to demonstrate his school’s contribution to the state. UI, after cuts of 22% the last two years, is staring at another proposed 1.3% cut this year.
“Every year, we put nearly $1 billion into Idaho’s economy,” Nellis told the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee. “That’s roughly 2 percent of the state’s economy. In other words, we return $9 for every $1 you invest in us.”
The past two years have brought the two largest freshman classes in the University of Idaho’s history, Nellis said. Research, too, is continuing to grow.
Nellis also highlighted STEM, or science, technology, engineering and mathematics education, which he said is “essential for gaining profitable new industries and jobs in Idaho.” He said, “Roughly 33 percent of all the degrees we award are in STEM areas. By comparison, other Idaho institutions average 12 percent, and our western peers average 25 percent.”
Links to all the reports included in UI’s study can be found here.