On June 2, the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area released a report [PDF] finding that D.C. universities – in addition to providing an education to 85,202 students citywide – make significant contributions to the local economy.
In 2010, universities spent $1.42 billion in D.C. on payroll, construction, capital improvements, and other outlays. Stephen S. Fuller of George Mason University asserts that there is a multiplier effect to this spending that in turn raised gross city product in D.C. by $2 billion.
Also, around 15,970 District residents work for Consortium members. Of D.C.’s top ten private employers in 2009, nine were universities and university hospitals. Georgetown University was the District’s largest private employer and Georgetown University Hospital ranked fifth.
Meanwhile, the report estimates the economic value of student volunteering in the region to be around $18.9 million.
This study comes at a time when several universities in D.C. are facing contentious campus plan battles. Universities like Georgetown exist as special use areas in residential zones and must prove that they are not “not likely to become objectionable to neighboring property because of noise, traffic, number of students, or other objectionable conditions.”
h/t Washington Post