UHD Contributes $2 Billion to Regional Economy According to New Study
Report Details UHD's Contributions to Greater Houston Area
By Mike Emery
Houstonians are no doubt familiar with the many University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) alumni throughout the region. As the second largest university in Houston, UHD produces leaders in business, law enforcement, education, science, social work, nonprofit management, and numerous other disciplines.
A new report, conducted by labor market analytics firm Emsi, indicates that these Gator graduates are not only influencers in their respective industries … they are key drivers of UHD’s economic impact on the region.
Alums, however, are just one part of a larger equation. As a whole, UHD’s presence in the city and in the region had a total economic impact in fiscal year 2018 of $2 billion. That total is equal to approximately 0.4 percent of the region’s total gross regional product. And, the impact of the institution has supported more than 19,000 jobs regionally.
According to Emsi’s findings, thousands of UHD alums comprise the regional workforce and had a net impact of $1.8 billion on the area’s economy. Each year, approximately 4,000 students emerge from UHD with newly acquired skills and degrees. These Gator graduates are ready to apply their knowledge to careers across a range of industries. Likewise, many Houston-area professionals return to the classroom and discover UHD as an institution to help them rise in the ranks of their respective industries.
“This report reveals much about the importance of UHD in the community,” said UHD President, Dr. Juan Sánchez Muñoz. “The University not only supports the academic aspirations of many Houstonians, it is a driving force in this region’s economy. This is due in part to the efforts of our institution’s faculty, staff, students and alumni. All of whom strengthen the Greater Houston Area through innovation and ingenuity.”
Other key takeaways from Emsi’s analysis include the benefits to taxpayers. According to the report, the University provides citizens with tax revenue totaling $440.5 million as a result of UHD students’ earning and increased business output. Taxpayers, the report states, will receive $10.20 for every dollar of public money invested in the university.
Additionally, FY 2017-18 students stand to benefit with $1.3 billion in higher earnings during their professional careers … or a return of $6.20 for every dollar they’ve invested in their education. Statewide, Texans will receive $21.30 for every dollar invested in the University.
Like alumni, the University’s day-to-day operations also are key contributors to the region’s economy. With more than 1,300 full-time and part-time faculty and staff members living in the Houston area and university expenses (related to facilities, supplies and professional services), the net impact of UHD’s operations delivered $154.9 million to the region.
Student spending accounted for $36.7 million in the regional economy as UHD remains a higher education destination for Houstonians who want to study close to home. While the university does attract out of town students (approximately 6 percent of UHD students are from outside of its service region), the institution keeps many local students living and working within the area.
Construction spending at the university also was a contributor to the regional economy with $22.4 million in additional income for the region. The report also cites UHD’s research spending as having a $2.6 million impression on the regional economy and visitors to the university as providing an additional $500,000.
“The data collected in this report is impressive and speaks volumes about UHD’s considerable value to Houstonians and to Texans,” Muñoz said. “This is an emergent university with hard working students and equally industrious employees. Its role in the region will continue to grow, and so will its overall impact on the economic landscape of Houston and surrounding cities.”
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.
U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.