Smart money: UNCA makes $268 million economic impact in Asheville

UNC Asheville not only attracts degree-seeking students to the Asheville area but it attracts $268 million as well, according to a recent study.

The findings (see the full report below) come from research economist Tom Tveidt of SYNEVA Economics, LLC. Tveidt once led the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce’s economic development research operations, and says he’s not surprised his research shows the economic impact the public liberal arts university has made in the city.

“I’ve long known that UNC Asheville is an economic engine for the region,” Tveidt said in a press release from the university. “And now, as the creative sector in Asheville has grown more important, the university’s economic value to the area has also grown. This new study estimates a $268 million impact in total – UNC Asheville is clearly a key driver of economic growth in Western North Carolina.”

However, the last time UNC Asheville commissioned an Economic Impact Study in 1995, the university’s total economic impact (when adjusted for inflation) was about $100 million less than its impact on the region today.

The study used spending as the primary factor to measure economic activity, and calculated UNCA’s total economic impact by looking at five major economic components: campus operations, student spending, outside visitors, graduate education premium and annual new resident attraction.

Here are some of the highlights from the report:

• Campus Operations the largest contributor, accounting for 51 percent of the total jobs supported, 65 percent of total labor income, 57 percent of total output and 50 percent of the total tax revenue generated.

• Economic activity generated by UNCA supports 2,592 local jobs, adds $105.5 million in local income and raises total economic output in the Asheville area by $268 million.

•  In total, the estimated annual local student spending equals $30,120,338 and supported 506 local jobs.

• During fiscal year 2011‐2012, it is estimated that about $4.5 million was spent locally by outside visitors in the Asheville area due to UNCA events.

• Currently, 5,611 UNC Asheville alumni reside in the four‐county Asheville metro area (Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson and Madison Counties).

• Economic activity generated by UNCA increases annual tax revenues by more than $35.8 million,  $14.8 million in state and local taxes and $21 million in federal taxes.

• During the next five years, UNCA’s Athletics Department expects a combination of major capital improvements and additional athletic scholarships to increase spending by approximately $1 million annually. The “Circle of Champions Campaign” is expected to raise an additional $5‐$7 million to complete the 2005 UNC Asheville Outdoor Sports Master Plan and increase the athletic scholarship endowment.

The full report can be found here:

  UNC Asheville Economic Impact Study April 2013 by Tom Tveidt of SYNEVA Economics, LLC.


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2 thoughts on “Smart money: UNCA makes $268 million economic impact in Asheville

  1. Econmic Impacter

    According to the input-output model of economic impact, an individual earning $50,000 a year has an economic impact on Asheville of $500,000. This is comforting to lower and middle income people.

    The University should release the cost of this study and the source of funds used to pay for it.

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