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Duke Created $5.8 Billion for 2012-13 NC Economy

Study: Higher education created $63.5 billion in value to the state in 2012-13

Duke University created $5.8 billion in economic value for the state economy in 2012-13, an amount equal to approximately 6.5 percent of the local area’s gross regional product, according to a study released Wednesday that analyzes the economic impact of higher education across North Carolina.

economic impact

Duke’s total includes its payroll, operations, construction and purchase of goods and services, together with the spending of its students, visitors, start-up companies and regional alumni. Clinical spending, campus operations and research activities account for the largest shares of the total. (See Information Sheet here for more details.)

“The study shows the many ways in which Duke and other institutions of higher education create value for North Carolina -- by educating students, carrying out research, creating new businesses, attracting visitors, meeting the health care needs of the community and much more,” said Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations.  “By fulfilling our core missions, the university attracts talent and investment from around the world, which then has a tremendous impact right here in Durham and the Triangle.”

The analysis found the University of North Carolina (UNC) system, the North Carolina Community College System and the state’s 36 independent colleges and universities created $63.5 billion in added economic value during fiscal year 2012-13. Economic Modeling Specialists International conducted the study, the first ever of colleges and universities across North Carolina, and the most comprehensive of its kind ever done for a single state.  Every public and private college in North Carolina participated in the project.

The study says higher education is a key economic driver in North Carolina, with business and industry relying on the state’s education institutions to produce skilled employees and foster innovation and entrepreneurship. Colleges and universities generate strong returns on investment for students, who benefit from higher lifetime earnings, and for communities across the state, which realize societal savings, the study reported.

Duke and other private institutions are an essential part of this system, the study found. “Private higher education has been a critical part of North Carolina’s economy for more than two hundred years and that impact continues to grow as we increase partnerships with our public higher education partners,” said A. Hope Williams, president of North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU). “From our small liberal arts colleges to our comprehensive and research universities, private higher education affects all aspects of the quality of life of North Carolina citizens.”    

Duke and NCICU’s other private institutions enrolled nearly 90,000 students during the period analyzed, generating a combined $14.2 billion in added state income, according to the study, which was funded by the NCICU campuses, the North Carolina Business Higher Ed Foundation, the N.C. Community Colleges Foundation and the UNC system. The study, which also emphasizes the importance of community colleges and public universities, is available at