Colorado State Adds $1.3 Billion of Economic Activity to Colorado

Each year, Colorado State University generates more than $1.3 billion of revenue for the state, according to results from the school’s economic impact report. Economic Impact in Colorado, an analysis of the university’s effects on Colorado’s economy, additionally highlights Colorado State’s position in the top 8 percent of schools nationwide in average return on state investment.

"Colorado State University is more than a great school, it is also a great investment and has been contributing to the economic health of Colorado for more than 130 years," said Albert C. Yates, president of Colorado State University and chancellor of the Colorado State University System. "From educating its workforce and training its leaders to researching solutions for critical business and scientific challenges, the university continues to make very positive contributions to the economic vitality of Colorado and its citizens."

According to the report, for each dollar allocated by the legislature, Colorado State generated about $9.59 of additional statewide economic activity, nearly doubling the national average. Also, for every dollar the state provided to the university, Colorado State generated an additional $3.52 of funding through sponsored research, fundraising, tuition and fees.

Colorado State research activity, including competitively awarded research grants, external contracts and federal funding, is responsible for nearly $259 million in economic activity within the state. Over the past 10 years, the university has attracted more than $1.3 billion in externally funded research including more than $860 million in federal research dollars. The university’s public service activities, including the Colorado State Forest Service and Cooperative Extension offices serving 60 state counties, generated an additional $93 million for the state.

"As the state and nation rebuild from difficult economic times, research universities provide skilled faculty, well-educated students and the research focus needed to fuel economic recovery," Yates said. "It is precisely at times like these that a state’s growing investment in higher education can have the greatest short- and long-term returns."

Colorado State students contribute about $103 million to the Colorado economy for housing, food, travel, transportation costs and other personal expenses. This amount does not include money spent in the state by parents, alumni and others who travel to Colorado to visit students, for athletic events or other university functions.

For every 100 employees hired by the university, an estimated 55 jobs are created outside the school. Colorado State employs 11,100 faculty, staff and student employees and generates about 6,100 other jobs in Colorado. Locally, Colorado State is the single largest job provider in Fort Collins, employing about 16 percent of the city’s workforce, and further generates more than $621 million of direct economic impact for the city.

Several other economic benefits that are difficult to quantify were not incorporated into the study. These include the number of employees working at federal research laboratories and private businesses that work closely with Colorado State and likely would not have been located in Colorado in the absence of the university. Other benefits are the value of new technologies and major scientific breakthroughs developed at Colorado State and the effects on agriculture or education through outreach activities.

"Colorado continues to receive a great return on its investment in Colorado State University as a major employer and economic force and also as a dedicated contributor to the state’s economic health," Yates added. "The longstanding partnership between our university and the state has generated both economic and intangible benefits for Colorado."

According to Yates, such unmeasured benefits of the university are likely to be even greater to Colorado than the measured ones.

The entire Economic Impact in Colorado report is on the Web at The report is available as a downloadable pdf file and in html format with reference links.