UW-W pumps millions into area economy

Campus hosts Board of Regents meeting for UW System


Carter Secor

Members of the Board of Regents present the All in Wisconsin project to the UW-W campus.

Olivia Storey, News Editor

UW-W hosted the monthly UW System Board of Regents Meeting on Thursday, Dec. 5 and Friday, Dec. 6. This meeting focused on the 2018 Economic Impact Study as well as the All in Wisconsin initiative, which aims to promote economic growth and the value of a UW degree.

Chancellor Dwight Watson opened the conference by talking about UW System’s achievements.

“Wisconsin is a better place to learn, live, work and play in because of UW System,” Watson said. “It would be hard to find some aspect of Wisconsin that is not somehow touched by the UW System.”

Russ Kashian, the director of the Fiscal and Economic Research Center (FERC), introduced the 2018 Economic Impact Study alongside his student employees. This study focused on the economic impact UW-W has made on the Wisconsin economy.

In total, UW-W had an annual impact of $514.9 million, which supported 4,480 jobs and $198.7 million in wages. The university had a direct impact of $286.2 million, an indirect impact of $96.4 million and an induced impact of $132.3 million, which is the result of increased personal income caused by the direct and indirect impacts.

“We have to always return to the idea that education changes lives,” Kashian said. “Students comes to Whitewater, whether they’re 18 or 25 or 30, and they leave a changed person. They change the economy, but they also change themselves.”

The All in Wisconsin initiative is something the UW System has been working on to showcase at many UW schools. They surveyed data from multiple UW campuses and determined the value of a degree from each of those schools.

UW System, along with Kashian, presented the collected data to the UW-W community. According to System, a UW-W degree is more valuable than some students may believe. The average annual income of a UW-W alumni is estimated to be around $73,815, while the average annual income of a high school graduate without a college degree is around $38,350. On top of this, around $1.8 billion has been earned by UW-W alumni, which has lead to about $117 million being paid in state taxes.

“We’ve been to nine different campuses across the UW System,” said Regent President Andrew Petersen. “This is emblematic of the economic vitality that our campuses are having, it’s the kind of influence our students are receiving.”

After discussing the economic impact UW-W and the city of Whitewater has left on the state, Petersen and UW System President Ray Cross explained some of the projects that System has been working on outside of All in Wisconsin, such as public safety, mental health initiatives and water challenges Wisconsin is facing.

“We have the ability to help the state deal with [water issues] and become the center for freshwater,” Cross said. “We need to partner more closely with school districts, technical colleges, businesses and communities. Together, we can really help to explode this economy.”