Tulane Rakes in the Green

May 2, 2004

Gregory H. Pejic, <i>Hullabaloo</i> staff writer

A recent economic impact study reveals that Tulane University plays a vital role in the local economy, bringing in millions of dollars from out of state and creating 16 new jobs for every $1 million spent by the university.

"Tulane is unique in that while it creates a large volume of jobs, they are also high-paying and high-quality jobs," Yvette Jones, senior vice president of external affairs, said.

Commissioned by the President's Office and the Office of Government Affairs, the study revealed that Tulane contributes $842 million to the local New Orleans community per year and $1.12 billion to the state of Louisiana annually.

"I think that it is fair to say that we know how important Tulane and other local universities are to our economy," John Talmage, deputy director for economic development for the City of New Orleans, said. "When dealing with universities, such as Tulane, we often are supportive of their projects since they tend to better the entire community."

The report also uncovered that Tulane is the largest private employer in the city and the fifth largest in the state, employing a total of 8,000 people. These figures show that Tulane is New Orleans' leading growth industry ahead of restaurants and hotels, providing $450 million dollars in salaries and fringe benefits, $196 million in goods and services and $25 million in new construction projects on average per year.

The study also broke down the out-of-state contributions the University draws to the local community. For instance, out-of-state students spend $360 million annually and $100 million in federal grants and contracts are awarded to Tulane each year.

Furthermore, according to the study, the role Tulane's medical facilities play in the local economy, a fact which was reflected more in this year's survey than in the past.

"We usually do an economic impact survey every three to fours years but we took a slightly different approach this year and took a closer look at our contributions in medical-related spending," Yvette Jones said.

For example, 18,000 out-of-state patients spent $20 million for medical purposes and $7.5 million for food, lodging and entertainment purposes per year. Jones also related the impressive results from the report to the University's relationship with the local and state government.

"The biggest effect this type of report has is that it makes it very clear how powerful and vital Tulane is to the region and proves useful in helping with working with the government at both the local and state level," she said. "These reports show in black and white the enormous impact Tulane has on this city and it helps emphasize to government leaders the hard facts beyond the University's outstanding reputation when working together on projects that will affect the entire community."

Flozell Daniels Jr., executive director for state government affairs in the Office of Government Affairs, stressed the importance of this survey to public officials.

"Tulane desires to continually add value and be a great investment for Louisiana," Daniels said. "It is evident to us that great states provide investment capital to their nationally ranked private universities by supporting their research, academics and community service leadership."

Daniels said both the state and the university benefit when Tulane thrives. "Louisiana has been well served in its wise investment in Tulane, and this report provides credible evidence to that end," Daniels said. "Tulane is proud to be a leader in this economy and job growth through its competitive research, academic and community service profile."

Councilman John A. Batt, Jr., whose district includes Tulane's Uptown campus, said city officials such as himself knew the value Tulane brought to the community before the survey results were released. "I do not need a study to see the immense benefits that Tulane provides for the city. It is apparent everywhere," Batt said. "Excellent schools attract people to New Orleans and provide opportunities for them to remain here."

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Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000