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Economic Contribution to Valley Surpasses Half-Billion Dollars

October 18, 2010

Campus’ total statewide investments top $1.1 billion in first
decade of operations;

Impact will continue to grow along with campus, student body

Quick Facts
  • UC Merced has created an economic contribution of more than
    $500 million to the San Joaquin Valley and more than $1.1 billion
    statewide since it began operations in July 2000.
  • The figures include local wages, construction contracts awarded
    to local businesses and goods and services purchased from local suppliers.
  • Economists estimate the actual value of UC Merced’s local
    investments increases by two to four times as that money is
    circulated throughout the economy.

MERCED — The University of California, Merced’s economic
contribution to the San Joaquin Valley since the campus began
operations in July 2000 has surpassed the $500 million mark, the
university said today. Statewide, the university’s total economic
contribution now exceeds $1.1 billion.

“Despite one of the most difficult economic climates in decades,
UC Merced continues to invest heavily in the future of the Valley,”
Chancellor Steve Kang said. “The university’s rapid growth is
creating quality jobs, stimulating secondary investments,
increasing tax revenues and helping to offset recessionary declines
in other sectors of the regional economy.

“We are extremely pleased to be pumping sustainable value back
into the region at a time when unemployment and poverty are
creating so much financial hardship for so many Valley residents.”

UC Merced has paid more than $333 million in local wages,
awarded $107 million in construction contracts to local businesses
and purchased $111 million in goods and services from local
suppliers for a total Valley investment of $551 million that
increased by nearly $100 million in the past year alone. And as
that money is circulated throughout the economy, a “multiplier
effect” increases the actual value of UC Merced’s local investments
by as much two to four times, per varying economists’ estimates.

Within the Valley, Fresno and Merced counties have been the
largest beneficiaries of university investments. Fresno County
businesses have been awarded nearly $100 million in construction
and business-service contracts over the 10-year period. Merced
County businesses have been awarded approximately $52 million in contracts.

Statewide, the university’s investments include another $550
million in goods and services purchased and contracts awarded. The
total investment of $1.1 billion represents an increase of
approximately $150 million since August 2009.

The state’s recently approved budget allocates $102.5 million to
UC Merced for additional construction, site development,
infrastructure and operating expenses for the current fiscal year.
Investments made from these funds will complement other ongoing
university expenditures, such as wages and benefits for faculty and
staff, to help bolster total economic contributions in the coming year.

University employment also increased over the past year to a
total of 1,103 — compared with 976 in August 2009 —
including full-time, part-time and contract academic and
administrative personnel (but excluding student employees). Monthly
payroll now totals approximately $7.5 million, including gross
wages and benefits.

As

previously reported
, student enrollment for the 2010-11
academic year surged by 28 percent over the previous year, to 4,381
students. Funding agreements with the UC Office of the President
will allow a net increase of some 600 students per academic year
through 2012-13, when enrollment is expected to reach more than
5,000. The university expects to top out at approximately 25,000
students within 30 years.

“UC Merced was established to increase college-going rates among
Valley students, help strengthen and diversify the regional economy
and begin to reverse decades of poverty and unemployment throughout
the region,” Kang said. “We are thrilled to be making good progress
on all of these goals and look forward to having an even greater
impact in the years ahead.”

MEDIA CONTACT

Patti Waid Istas