Report: UH produces big economic benefits


HONOLULU — The University of Hawaii system produced an estimated $3.61 billion in economic benefits for the state, according to a report released by university economists.

According to the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization, the university system and its 10 campuses generate economic activity through purchases from local businesses, payment to employees and spending by students and visitors to UH conferences. The amount includes the ripple effects from university-generated spending, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser (http://is.gd/8G0l9I) reported Tuesday.

The economic report says UH-related spending totaled $2.32 billion in fiscal year 2012, with $1.84 billion of which was spent locally. Together with indirect benefits related to that spending, the school had a total impact of $3.61 billion on Hawaii’s economy, the researchers concluded.

Student spending accounted for more than one-quarter of total spending.

A direct benefit to the economy would be the university buying supplies from a vendor. The additional sale by a wholesaler to the vendor represents an indirect benefit. A third benefit, called “induced” benefit, would be the amount paid by the vendor and wholesaler to employees.

An important difference between UH and a private business is that the university relies on taxpayers for part of its funding. In fiscal year 2012, UH and its research arm spent $1.7 billion in support of the school’s education mission. Of that, $376 million came from the state general fund. The remaining $1.4 billion was paid for by government research and training grants, student tuition and fees, bookstore revenue and federal matching grants.

Additional spending by the privately funded University of Hawaii Foundation, other student spending and spending by visitors attending UH conferences brought total UH-related expenditures to $2.32 billion.