Report shows University of Nebraska’s annual economic impact is $3.9 billion

The teaching, research and outreach activities of the University of Nebraska annually generate more than $3.9 billion for Nebraska’s economy, according to an independent new analysis of the university’s significant and far-reaching impact on the economic and cultural vitality of the state.

The analysis, presented today to the NU Board of Regents, was conducted by Tripp Umbach, a leading national consultant with expertise in economic impact studies. NU President Hank Bounds said the firm’s findings confirm that the University of Nebraska plays a fundamental role in ensuring the state’s economic competitiveness and quality of life and that continued investment in higher education is vital to the state’s success.

“The University of Nebraska touches virtually every Nebraskan in some way,” Bounds said. “We know intuitively that the university is deeply connected to the economic and social well-being of the state. This report confirms that the state cannot be successful without its public university. No single number or report can fully capture the impact of the University of Nebraska. But this analysis makes clear that the mission-driven activities of the university are transforming lives and communities across the state – and that we have a proven record of successfully leveraging the resources that Nebraskans invest in us.”

Paul Umbach, Tripp Umbach founder and CEO, said: “NU is a major force in the Nebraska economy in terms of workforce, innovation, healthcare and economic development. The true impact of the University of Nebraska goes far beyond the $3.9 billion in annual economic impact, as the university is a resource for every Nebraskan. It is the lynchpin for Nebraska’s continued growth and prosperity.”

Among Tripp Umbach’s key findings:

  • The university’s $3.9 billion annual economic impact means that the activities of NU campuses, faculty, staff and students – and the resulting ripple effects in business and communities statewide – add nearly $11 million each day to Nebraska’s economy.

  • The University of Nebraska sustains a highly skilled workforce for the state, supporting 1 out of every 36 jobs in Nebraska. The 35,000 Nebraska jobs supported by the university include not just NU employees, but 19,000 people who have jobs as a result of university activities.

  • NU trains current and future generations of Nebraska’s leaders. About 189,000 NU alumni live in Nebraska, representing 1 of every 7 working-age Nebraskans. More than 10,000 new NU graduates enter the workforce every year, growing the state’s earning power by $50 million annually. Many of those graduates stay in Nebraska and fill key needs in agriculture, engineering and IT, nursing, allied health, business and other fields.

  • University research not only grows the economy, but fosters innovation and addresses key challenges facing Nebraska and the world. NU research has a $385 million annual economic impact, supporting 2,500 jobs and advancing knowledge in areas such as water and agriculture, treatment of diseases like cancer and Ebola, national security and defense, early childhood education, rural development and others. In addition, faculty are increasingly bringing their innovations from the lab to the marketplace, resulting in new licensing income, patent activity, and startup companies across the state.

  • The well-being of the state is directly linked to the University of Nebraska. NU employees and students annually provide $90 million in charitable donations and volunteer services, like student-led service activities, free health screenings, free scholarly lectures and many more. The university’s campuses also offer activities that enhance Nebraskans’ cultural understanding and build connections among citizens, including concerts, art exhibits and athletic events.

Tripp Umbach’s full report, including the firm’s methodology and detailed findings, along with additional information about the University of Nebraska’s economic and social impact on the state, is available at

Media Contact:

Melissa Lee
University of Nebraska
Office: (402) 472-7127
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