A new economic study conducted by consulting firm Tripp Umbach reveals that the University of Washington generates “$12.5 billion in jobs, sales of goods and services, and other economic impacts for the state.” Additionally, UW supports 1 out of every 48 jobs in the state.
Paul Umbach, founder and president of Tripp Umbach, confirms that UW’s “state economic impact is larger than that of any of the other 200-plus colleges and universities that the consulting firm…has ever studied.” Umbach said of UW, “It is one of the largest, if not the largest, research enterprises in the world.” He also said that UW’s economic impact is driven by “an awful lot of innovation-economy spinoffs. And … it provides almost the majority of the professional workforce in the state.”
In a significant move, the study was released “just four days before Washington lawmakers start a session in which they will set the state’s budget for the next two years.” Democrats have long treated public universities as an endless source of revenue, raising tuition to among the top rates in the nation as a means to pay for their spending schemes. It is only due to Republican leadership in the State Senate that a freeze on tuition hikes is now in place—though certain Democrats have attempted to take credit for the popular policy.
Last month, Jay Inslee proposed to—once again—treat public universities as cash cows. Inslee’s budget includes spending for employee pay hikes to the tune of a whopping $867 million. Surprising higher education officials, Inslee proposed that universities to “make up some of the costs of pay hikes using tuition — roughly in the percentage of college costs that tuition provides.” UW’s vice president of external affairs Randy Hodgins said that there was “no other way to interpret” Inslee’s proposal than “to cut from the base.”
According to the Seattle Times, UW lobbyists are “likely to use the numbers in this economic report to show how important the university is as an economic driver for the region.”