University of Washington, Bothell's local economic impact: $103 million

University of Washington, Bothell Chancellor Kenyon Chan addresses the crowd at the school
University of Washington, Bothell Chancellor Kenyon Chan addresses the crowd at the school's 20th anniversary celebration in May.
— image credit: COURTESY PHOTO

Released by the University of Washington, a recent study gives the local economic impact of the school's Bothell campus as $103 million annually.

Overall, the UW claims some $9 billion in direct and indirect contributions to the state economy.

“By educating smart people and generating great ideas, the UW will play a crucial role in helping Washington state recover and build a global economy in the post-Great Recession era," said UW President Mark Emmert.

"The University of Washington is a big part of the economic engine of Bothell," said Bothell Mayor Mark Lamb, noting the campus provides jobs, trained employees for local businesses and numerous other benefits to the city. He said having a four-year campus of a major, internationally known university right in the neighborhood is a major selling point with potential new businesses and residents alike. Lamb added UW's medical research obviously aids the city's bio-technology corridor.

"It's something that gives a cache to our community," Lamb said.

"We're not just educating students, there's a lot going on here and we wondered how can we quantify that," UW Director of Government and Community Relations Kelly Snyder said regarding the motivation for the study.

Completed by an outside consultant, the research took about six months and looked at the 2008-2009 fiscal year, Snyder continued.

Regarding UW-Bothell specifically, the report claims the suburban location generates some $191 million in economic activity statewide. That figure breaks down to a direct impact of $83 million and an indirect impact of $108 million through expenditures, government revenues and the employment of faculty and staff.

For the city of Bothell specifically, UW-Bothell's $103 million in impacts consists of $60 million in direct dollars and $42 million of indirect contributions. Local government revenues generated by the school come to $112,443. The school also contends it powers an additional $19.8 million in indirect revenues for local governments.

Direct tax payments were defined as straight-forward payments to government agencies. Indirect tax revenues include dollars paid by employees, visitors and vendors who do business with the school.

According to information released by UW-Bothell, some 12 percent of the campus' students come from Bothell. Additionally, the school claims a number of alumni now operate or work for local businesses and organizations such as Apex Wine Cellars, the Greater Bothell Chamber of Commerce and the city of Bothell.

In terms of employment at the campus itself, UW-Bothell supplies 173 jobs. The school lays claim to creating another 156 positions indirectly, for a total of 329. Those indirect jobs are supplied by companies that do business with the campus.

Besides looking at the impact of UW-Bothell on its immediate neighborhood, namely the city of Bothell, the UW also looked at the campus' impact on the Puget Sound region. According to the study, the school contributes a grand total of $141 million to the regional economy. The campus creates 570 jobs regionally and pours about $7.8 million into local government coffers.

"Those numbers that we're seeing now are going to continue to increase over time," Snyder said, adding the UW-Bothell has received 1,700 applications for 400 freshman spots. She said that ratio of applicants to available seats is comparable to that enjoyed by the main UW campus in Seattle.

"Now we just need some space," Snyder said regarding the UW-Bothell campus. "We need a building."

According to Snyder, the UW-Bothell administration will make lobbying for construction funding a focus when the state legislature reconvenes next year. Officials plan to use the recent study as a tool in that effort. Snyder admitted the economic news coming out of Olympia has not been great, that dollars for the campus might be hard to find.

"It's our job to ask," Snyder said, stating it is then the job of legislators to decide how they want to spend available dollars.

The overall impact study looked at the main UW campus, along with the locations in Bothell and Tacoma. According to the school, work was completed in line with standard methods set out by the American Council on Education. Here are a few highlights of the complete study:

• Besides the total impact of just over $9 billion statewide, the UW claims $618.1 million in tax revenues paid to state and local governments. The school contends that for every $1 in state funding allocated to the UW, Washington receives back $1.48 in tax revenues. Overall, that same $1 invested by the state results in $22.56 in economic impact.

• Of the UW's roughly 12,000 annual graduates, 77 percent stay in the state.

• The UW is the third largest employer in the state. In total, some 69,800 jobs are generated by the UW with one-third of those jobs supported by the school's $1.5 billion in research programs.

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