Planet Princeton

Princeton University Releases Study by Consultant on School’s Regional Economic Impact

Princeton University released a study this afternoon that the school  commissioned regarding the school’s economic impact on the region.

A study by Appleseed, an economic consulting group hired by the university, shows that the school has a substantial impact on the New Jersey economy, generating an annual total of $1.58 billion in economic output as an employer, research and innovation leader, sponsor of construction projects, purchaser of goods and services, and financial and civic contributor to local communities.

The $1.58 billion supports an estimated 13,450 jobs with $970.7 million in earnings, school officials said.

The report, “Education, Innovation and Opportunity: The Economic Impact of Princeton University” details the economic and other benefits the university generates within the town of Princeton and neighboring communities, Mercer County and the state of New Jersey. The study updates a 2008 analysis commissioned by the university and provides a look at the University’s direct and indirect effects on the vitality of the local, regional and state economy in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015. The study also identifies resources, services and opportunities that the university contributes to enhance the quality of life in its neighboring communities and throughout the region.

Princeton University employs more than 6,900 people, excluding student employees. Of those employees, 58 percent live in the Princeton area or elsewhere in Mercer County and 80 percent live in New Jersey. Princeton paid nearly $602 million in employee salaries and contributed an additional $24.8 million in New Jersey state income and unemployment insurance taxes and paid family leave insurance in fiscal year 2015, school officials said.

The study also found that the school’s investments in research and entrepreneurship catalyze innovation throughout the state. As a major research institution, Princeton attracts hundreds of millions in federal research dollars to New Jersey each year, much of which is spent locally, to pursue solutions to pressing societal challenges, officials said. Research expenditures amounted to $457.6 million in fiscal year 2015 — a nearly 80 percent jump since 2007, school officials said. Internal university resources allocated to research increased significantly, comprising 30 percent of the 2015 total.

Research collaborations with leading New Jersey companies such as Siemens and Bristol-Myers Squibb and academic institutions including Rutgers University and the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital further extend the impact of Princeton’s research enterprise. In the last five years, the University has strengthened the state’s innovation ecosystem through the launch of the Intellectual Property Accelerator Fund to advance researchers’ proof-of-concept work, the Keller Center’s eHub as a focal point for entrepreneurship, and the Alumni Entrepreneurs Fund to support alumni startups, school officials said.

“Princeton is committed to extending the benefits of its research capabilities and innovation beyond the campus, into companies and organizations that can translate ideas into practical solutions to improve social and economic well-being,” said Coleen Burrus, Princeton’s director of corporate engagement and foundation relations. “There are so many innovative companies right here in New Jersey, and the University is eager to continue to work with them to build research collaborations.”

Businesses across the region significantly benefit from University spending on goods, services and capital construction projects, school officials said. In 2015, Princeton spent $453.6 million in goods and services to advance its education and research mission; of that total, nearly $137.3 million was paid to New Jersey vendors, including $35 million paid to Princeton-area businesses and $16.5 million paid to businesses elsewhere in Mercer County, school officials said. During the same period, capital construction and renovation projects amounted to $318.1 million in University spending, 43 percent of which went to New Jersey contractors and vendors.

An estimated 768,000 people visited the University in 2015, spending nearly $50 million and directly and indirectly accounting for $63.4 million in economic output, school officials said. Local consumer spending was supplemented by an estimated $59.7 million that Princeton students spent in the community, school officials said.

The university makes direct financial contributions to the towns and county in which it resides. In fiscal year 2015 it paid more than $16.3 million in property taxes, fees and voluntary contributions to local governments, school officials said. This included a voluntary unrestricted contribution of $2.86 million to the town of Princeton under a seven-year agreement that provides for increases each year through 2020 as well as capital contributions valued at $2.9 million. The report said that “the stabilizing presence of Princeton University” contributes to an Aaa bond rating for the town that leads to significant savings in its borrowing costs.

University officials said the school enhances quality of life through its financial and volunteer support to community and civic organizations; maintenance of area roads; volunteer, training and funding support to public safety agencies; commitment to sustainability; and provision of local affordable housing. School officials said community members can enjoy the wide variety of educational, cultural and athletic programming that the university offers year-round. In 2014-15, 1,165 people participated in the university’s community auditing program to take regular university courses on a non-credit basis, with more than half of the participants coming from the Princeton area, school officials said.

“Princeton University takes prides in its longstanding partnership with the communities that surround it,” said President Christopher Eisgruber. “Through on-campus learning opportunities, joint transportation and safety programs, community service projects, and initiatives that encompass the arts, entrepreneurship and many other areas, the university and its neighbors continue a vibrant tradition of cooperation founded on shared values, interests and histories.”

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

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