BISMARCK -- A new report from North Dakota State University has found that the state's higher ed system has had a more than $5 billion economic impact on North Dakota during the 2019 fiscal year.

The report, published by the agribusiness and applied economics department at NDSU, found that the system had a $5.5 billion economic impact, including direct and secondary expenditures.

“As the report illustrates, higher education is vital to North Dakota’s economy,” NDUS Chancellor Mark Hagerott said in a statement. “Higher education invests in people and the overall growth of knowledge for young people and adult learners. Higher education directly influences these learners as well as the workplaces that hire these workers. Our goal is to always work toward the betterment of the entire state.”

There have been similar reports about the system’s financial impact ranging back to 1999. The report authors use the North Dakota Input-Output Model to estimate economic impact.

The report authors noted that the university system and its institutions provide the state with an educated workforce as well as outreach and continuing education education programs for the state’s residents and business.

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“Institutions of higher education in North Dakota are influential in many perspectives,” the report stated.

Among the key findings in the report included:

The state’s colleges and universities leverage $2.82 from external sources for every dollar of state appropriated funds.

  • The direct economic effects is slightly lower than its high in 2015 when expenditures were $1.6 billion. In fiscal year 2019, it was $1.5 billion. In 2018, that total was $1.3 million.

  • Non-general fund revenues are an important source of funding for the university system, providing 71% of the total expenditures in 2018 and 74% in 2019.

  • NDUS in-state expenditures, student expenditures and subsequent secondary business activity was estimated to generate $48.4 million in state tax collections, according to the report. Of that total, $19.9 million were sales and use taxes, $12.5 million from property taxes, $7.3 million from personal income taxes, $2.6 million from corporate income taxes and $6 million in other miscellaneous taxes.

  • Direct employment by the NDUS was 10,489 full-time jobs in 2019; down slightly from 2017 and 2018 employment of 10,741 and 10,857, respectively.

  • Enrollment at the NDUS’s 11 colleges and universities was 34,954 full-time students for fall semester 2019, down 1,649 from 2018. Full-time enrollment has been declining since a high of 39,089 in 2011.

  • NDUS student living expenses were estimated to be $453 million for 2019, down from $455 million in 2017.

  • Economic effects of student living expenses resulted in $453 million in direct effects and $1.1 billion in total business activity, highlighted by $510 million in retail trade activity and $273 million in economy-wide personal income.