Commentary: Recent Study Shows Just How Big An Impact UC Has Statewide

Share:
UC Davis

By David M. Greenwald

It has been fashionable in some circles to bash UC Davis and the University of California.  And let’s be honest – there are plenty of legitimate reasons to do so.

Locally there has been a love-hate relationship with the university.  Obviously UC Davis is a huge employer of local residents.  On the other hand, it has been a driver of growth in the community by adding students without providing them with housing – earning the ire of some residents.  Another group of people believe that UC Davis needed to play a larger role in the discussion over DISC and the need for economic development in Davis and locally.

From the university’s perspective, you could argue that they saw enough divisive growth issues, got burned on things like West Village, and have somewhat washed their hands by going in with Sacramento on Aggie Square (only to encounter similar problems there recently with lawsuits and pushbacks on housing in the area).

Statewide, the University of California has been a focal point of student anger who have seen rising student costs while top administrators are raking in six figures, in some cases approaching if not exceeding half a million dollars in salary.

But like everything else, there are two sides to this and one is that not only is the University of California still providing perhaps the best public higher education in the country if not the world, it is also a recent report suggests, an “essential economic engine for the state.”

The numbers in a recent report by Beacon Economics is rather staggering.  It contributes $82 billion annual to California’s economic output.

They estimate about half a million jobs in California, one in 45 overall, “are supported by the University” with “UC-related spending generates nearly $12 billion annually in federal, state and local tax revenues.”

The study by Beacon Economics “revealed that every dollar invested in UC by the state of California generates over $21 in economic output, including nearly $10 in labor income.”

They note, “The University’s total economic impact on labor income in the state is over $37 billion annually. These figures reflect University spending as well as its direct and indirect economic impacts.”

“UC’s economic ripple effect is so large that it touches every region in the state, including those without a campus or medical center,” said UC President Michael V. Drake, M.D. “Beyond economic impact, the University’s contributions in health, innovation and social equity are even more important to the lives of Californians.”

The report, “The University of California Economic, Fiscal and Social Impact Analysis,” for the first time includes an analysis of UC’s social impact on the state as well as its economic and fiscal contributions.

“The report underscores UC’s remarkable power to fuel California’s leadership in numerous economic sectors while stimulating equity and opportunity across social and ethnic groups,” said John A. Pérez, chair of the UC Board of Regents. “The University’s impact is truly transformative and far-reaching.”

While we have perhaps criticized UC Davis for under-realizing its potential as a driver of innovation, UC wide the numbers are pretty remarkable.

For example, “The economic impact study reaffirmed that UC is a world leader in innovation, averaging five inventions every day. In fiscal year 2019 UC received over 500 patents, bringing the University’s total to over 5,000 active U.S. patents and nearly 6,000 foreign patents. This reputation for excellence attracted nearly $6 billion in federal, state and private research awards to the University in fiscal year 2019 alone.”

“UC researchers are tackling some of the state’s most urgent problems with ingenuity and innovation, bringing to bear solutions in various fields from hydrology to artificial intelligence and energy sustainability to entertainment,” said Theresa Maldonado, Ph.D., UC’s vice president of Research and Innovation.

A point was raised in a comment earlier this week on the Vanguard questioning whether a university education is worth the costs – but as I pointed out, the data is pretty overwhelming noting the differential between the average income for a college educated person versus a non-college educated person.  Yes, there are ways for non-college educated people to earn a decent living, but these days those are exceptions rather than rules.

The study here bears that out.

They note, “A UC education contributes to closing the economic opportunity gap.”  Their study looks at undergraduates who are first in their family to attend college – those are people rising from positions of under-privilege to positions where they can earn much more than their parents.

Remarkably, UC has done a good job here with 40 percent of all undergrads being the first in their family to attend college while 37 percent come from low-income families.

This figure is truly remarkable: “within six years of graduation, most first-generation UC graduates earn more than their parents, and most low-income graduates earn more than their parents in just five years.”

The study also put a dollar value on what a UC education means to individual Californians.

They find, “University graduates earn $9,000 more annually compared to non-UC college graduates, and $45,000 more annually compared with Californians who do not have a college degree.”

We have often criticized high debt, but the study found: “High student debt is a pronounced economic problem often hitting those who can least afford it. However, nearly half of California residents who enter UC as freshmen graduate without any student debt. Almost 60 percent of California residents enrolled at the University have all their tuition and fees covered by financial aid, according to the study.”

None of this should wash over legitimate concerns with the policies of the University of California, we as a society need to do better at helping to manage debt, but overall, most people are better off for having received a top notch college education.

—David M. Greenwald reporting


Support our work – to become a sustaining at $5 – $10- $25 per month hit the link:

Share:

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

Related posts

39 thoughts on “Commentary: Recent Study Shows Just How Big An Impact UC Has Statewide”

    1. Matt Williams

      Ron, in some ways you are right.  The local economic activity of the broad community of Davis has been fed by the research and educational activities that UC Davis generates.

      However, the municipal jurisdiction of the City of Davis has been systematically excluded from any of that feeding.  UC Davis imposes burdens on the City of Davis as a municipal jurisdiction, and excludes the City of Davis from normal revenue streams that UC Berkeley does not exclude the City of Berkeley from, that UC Santa Cruz does not exclude the City of Santa Cruz from, that UCLA does not exclude the City of Los Angeles from, etc.

      1. Ron Glick

        The City and  County have as much responsibility in that systematic exclusion as UC does. Look no further than the historic and recent desire to keep students from participating in city elections through the failure to annex the campus while simultaneously demanding student housing be built on UC land instead of in the City.

        1. Matt Williams

          There is absolutely no evidence that either the City or the County have any responsibility in “that systematic exclusion.”

          The City and the County have absolutely nothing to do with either (1) the original jurisdictional fact that UC Davis is outside the City Limits, or (2) the fact that that original jurisdictional fact has not changed at any time over the years.

          The City would be very happy to annex all or part of the UCD campus.  The County has no say in any annexation application that LAFCo could/would consider.  However, UCD ghas made it very clear over the years that they have no desire to have any of their campus annexed into the City.

           

        2. Bill Marshall

          Except for voters, why would the City annex parts/all of UCD?  Their tax-exempt stutus would mean revenues would be small, potential fiscal responsibilities on the cost side could be huge… and the County would probably want their “take” of any revenues, for LAFCO to approve…

        3. Bill Marshall

          This was debated when West Village was being planned and it wasn’t the University that opposed annexation.

          Unless you were privy/involved in those discussions, as I was, you simplify too much… many complex issues, including access to City streets, utility services, revenues, costs… in the end, particularly with the County involvement as to revenues/costs, it was a mutual decision at the end… The City was not opposed, “if” certain conditions were met… UCD was not opposed, “if”… the County was not opposed, “if”… the three parties had so many divergent “ifs” that could not be reconciled.  No entity opposed it, true… but when laying all the cards on the table as to “conditions”, no entity wanted to support, and definitely not ‘champion’, annexation of West Village… a Yolo/Davis/UCD ‘standoff’ as it were… hence, West Village not annexed… ask any of the main decision makers at the time… at an advisory ‘staff level’, I saw and heard the majority of the pro/con arguments and facts… and the ‘politics’… you can believe me or not… I do not care. But it is truthful.

        4. Ron Glick

          No doubt there were many interests involved but the result was that there wasn’t enough institutional will to get it done. In the end the students remained disenfranchised from City elections.

          Yet when it came to Aggie Village, that was built for faculty, enough political will did exist for annexation. So Matt’s original jurisdiction argument fails through inconsistency and age discrimination.

        5. Bill Marshall

          Yet when it came to Aggie Village, that was built for faculty, enough political will did exist for annexation. So Matt’s original jurisdiction argument fails through inconsistency and age discrimination.

          The facts and situation was quite for Aggie Village compared to West Village… chief among them, sewer and water service were very logically be provided by the City, and there was no logical alternative for (motor) vehicular access to the site.

          They pay/paid into the Community Facilities assessments, via an assessment distict.

          The other biggie was that Aggie Village was very, very small compared to West Village.

          Political will had little to do with it.  Driven much more by practical considerations.

        6. Ron Glick

          No doubt the student vote in City politics always is a second order consideration. However it does put the lie to the importance of direct democracy when it comes to Measures J,R and D.

        7. Bill Marshall

          So, you cannot admit you were wrong… about history, facts, and motivations and seem obsessed with having on-campus folk vote and direct City policies and financial arrangements… like you are prefectly fine with representation without taxation…

          The student vote in Davis does just fine, for those who live in the corporate limits… and directly or indirectly (via rents) pay the costs of parcel taxes, assessment districts, City utiity bills, etc.

          I just do not agree, that in order to have on-campus students vote in City matters, it is worth the imputed costs, with nearly zero revenue from/to the City.

          Example… do you believe it is good to have on-campus students elect CC members who put a bond or parcel tax measure on the ballot that would tax everyone in the City for a ‘benefit’ they (or other students who reside in town) primarily benefit from, in the name of “progressive government”?  Like a City ordinance that would require landlords to cut rental rates by 50% for students? Or equire landlords to pay for all utility bills (inc. gas and electric, and exclue student renters to face those charges…)

          May be a slogan for you, “On-campus Student Votes Matter”…

        8. Alan Miller

          May be a slogan for you, “On-campus Student Votes Matter”…

          Uh oh.  That moment when you step on a landmine #click#, and time is suspended as you wait for the inevitable explosion.

        9. Matt Williams

          Bill, it is not “nearly zero revenue”  All the retail transactions and business-to-business transactions that happen on the campus would be subject to the 1 percent Measure O sales tax, and the City would get an additional 1 percent of the base sales tax revenue.

          The City would love to be the beneficiary of that incremental revenue stream.

          Further, the cost of maintaining the campus streets is currently borne by UCD. Transferring that cost burden to the City would more than likely come with an annual multi-million dollar payment from UCD to the City just as is currently done in Berkeley and Santa Cruz for example. See Enterprise article.

    2. Alan Miller

      “It has been fashionable in some circles to bash UC Davis and the University of California.”

      My name is Alan Miller, and I resemble that remark.

    3. Alan Miller

      Its called biting the hand that feeds you.

      It’s called biting the hand that gave me a #meh# education at a premium cost (yet still but a tiny fraction of today’s premium cost).

      But I did settle in Davis to the giddy joy of all residents past and future, so there’s that.

  1. Matt Williams

    Another group of people believe that UC Davis needed to play a larger role in the discussion over DISC and the need for economic development in Davis and locally.

    .
    I believe David has “heard” that group of people incorrectly.  My personal belief, which I know is shared by many others, is that UC Davis needs to go substantially beyond simple “discussion.”  Discussion is often little more than “paying lip service” and there is no shortage of lip service in Davis. 

    What is “needed” from UC Davis is not talk, but rather action.  The economic development topic needs to move from an ethereal discussion about smoke and mirrors to a concrete discussion of real demand. If the smoke and mirrors promises are actually real, and many people in the community are from Missouri, then UC Davis … and the creation of intellectual capital at UC Davis … needs to step forward and show evidence of that real demand.

    JMO

    1. Ron Glick

      The City Manager when the idea of a business/research park came onto the radar, Steve Pinkerton, was indeed from Missouri.  Columbia MO. to be exact. Home of the University of Missouri Tigers. He was a man with a vision of the roles both the University plays in economic development and the city plays in hosting the university as its economic engine. He had a plan that would have gone a long way to righting the City’s finances. Of course it was shot down by the usual suspects.

      1. Bill Marshall

        Interesting perspective of Steve Pinkerton…

        Look at how well his “economic development plans” worked in Stockton and Manteca…

        Some think he was a financial ‘savior’ for Davis… those in the know, don’t…

        1. Bill Marshall

          Ron G… before his ‘plan took flight’, or before ‘he took flight’?

          Suspect you have not looked at his Stockton nor Manteca histories… fine… but if you choose to, they are arguably “telling”…

          As is what happened to Incline Village gov’t, and now Paul Navazio is now the financial mgr there…  Davis, to Woodland, to Incline Village…

          2020.12.31_-_MFR.PDF (yourtahoeplace.com)

           

  2. Ron Oertel

    I think that David was referring to some earlier comments I made (in the article above), regarding the perceived declining value of college degrees (especially when compared to the cost).

    Note that this is a somewhat different issue, than how “valuable” it is to have a university in a given city or region. Except to the degree that it reduces demand for college education (or how “valuable” their graduates are to a given locale, assuming that they stay in a region).

    In any case, here’s the first article that I clicked on, when searching for “declining value of college degrees”.  I only skimmed through it, but It touches on several subjects – including the decline in college enrollments in general.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/brandonbusteed/2020/09/25/wake-up-higher-education-the-degree-is-on-the-decline/?sh=320b24b17ecb

    1. Bill Marshall

      regarding the perceived declining value of college degrees (especially when compared to the cost).

      The degree should not have a great value… it is what you learned as you optained your degree, and subsequent work experience and performance is what has the true ‘value’… reminds me of the unfortunate LinkedIn slogan, “It’s not what you know, but who you know”…  I opine that who you know might very well help you get the “foot in the door”, but that it is what you know, continue to learn/experience, and your performance is where the value lies, and I have experienced those increase your value… and any intelligent employer knows that, and acts upon it…

      Didn’t matter that I graduated UCD with a degree, vs CSUS, vs Podunk JC… knowledge, continued learning, experience, and performance is where the value lay…

      Just saying…

    2. Ron Oertel

      Note that this is a somewhat different issue, than how “valuable” it is to have a university in a given city or region. 

      The “value” includes the salaries of everyone employed at the university, via taxpayer (and student) dollars.  And the ripple effect this has.

      This is one of the reasons that universities (or any educational system, for that matter) might resist more widespread adoption of online/distributed learning.  (Which can be accomplished with much fewer people, infrastructure, etc.).  In other words, self-interest may result in slower adoption of this than would otherwise occur.

      But they may increasingly experience competition from those that are willing to adopt it more fully – especially in a declining overall market for college degrees. 

      And at some point, I suspect that U.S. universities won’t be as appealing to those from overseas. (I’m not sure why this hasn’t already occurred, given that those students are subject to the full cost.)

    3. Richard_McCann

      This story links to a Federal Reserve Bank study showing that a college degree is still valuable. Note that the question about the value of a college degree relates to the rising costs, which is much more of an issue for private colleges where tuition is double and more that of the UCs. https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2019/06/10/new-data-show-economic-value-earning-bachelors-degree-remains-high

      I have seen other studies that show a widening gap between STEM degree salaries and non-STEM. UCD leans toward STEM programs so its value is particularly high among the college market.

      1. Ron Oertel

        Seems to me that a lot of these analyses do not include the cost of obtaining a degree (and opportunity cost).

        There’s a student debt crisis across the nation, and college enrollments are drastically dropping.  UCD is not the only “top school”.

        But yeah – in my opinion, some degrees shouldn’t even be offered without a “warning label” regarding future, expected earnings.  It’s a real disservice to any young people who simply believe the mantra regarding any college degree.

        Truth be told, I also wonder about the motive/reason for some of the studies suggesting that college is still worth it, without examining it in more detail. But this would likely require a lot of research regarding that. And given the bias on here, it would likely lead to an excessive amount of “beating down” to present anything which questions it. (The nature of this blog.)

        1. Alan Miller

          And given the bias on here, it would likely lead to an excessive amount of “beating down” to present anything which questions it. (The nature of this blog.)

          I tied a fresh steak to my neck (comments above) and am waiting for the UCD loyalist dogs to attack.  Being eaten by dogs is but a side-sport for me.

        2. Ron Oertel

          It’s too much work for me – until it turns into a development proposal based upon such claims.  😉

          But truth be told, it seems like the air has been let out of that tire, for a number of reasons.

  3. Bill Marshall

    May be a slogan for you, “On-campus Student Votes Matter”…

    Uh oh.  That moment when you step on a landmine #click#, and time is suspended as you wait for the inevitable explosion.

    Yes, I can believe that this is my “year of living dangerously”… so be it… flak vests can be obtained from Amazon… will order ones for other family members this afternoon… I’m doomed…

    But, Biden has now signed an “Asian lives matter” ExecOrder, due to some folk asserting Asians are responsible for Covid, and discrimatating against Asians, based on that assertion… just like in the mideval times Jews were ‘held’ responsible for various plagues… after all, they tended to fall victim less often to the plague (likely due to better sanitation precautions, consistent with their traditions)…

    “All lives matter” seems to be anathema, yet look at how Blacks, Latinx, Asian, etc. folk are not unified as POC’s, but only want THEIR particular folk appointed to vacancies in Federal, State and some local governments… ask Newsom… but ‘whites’ are the guilty ones… and can’t point out that all lives and views matter… maybe POC’s could unify under a “All POC’s Matter”…

    Until then, am sorely reminded of Tom Leher’s “National Brotherhood Week” song… many years later, it fits still, although it could add another verse or two… but before I make a specific suggestion, will not try to ‘dig my hole deeper’…

    And, yes Alan… I fully expect the ‘lightning bolt’ shortly… even from them that don’t believe in Zeus nor God… but I’ve built a storage unit that will harness that energy, store it, and my survivors can draw on it, for next power outage… a form of ‘green energy’… ‘natural’…

    1. Alan Miller

      Biden has now signed an “Asian lives matter” ExecOrder, due to some folk asserting Asians are responsible for Covid, and discrimatating against Asians, based on that assertion…

      Wait, (he did) what?  OK, anyone who ‘discriminates against’ (probably more like hates on) Asians is pond scum, not to mention intellectually deficient.  But what could an ‘executive order’ do?  There are already laws in place against hate crimes, or any illegal action taken against individuals of any race.  The anti-Asian racism is clearly real, though I don’t understand the logic to it, and has occurred in Davis, as well-described recently by a woman in the Pacifico meeting a couple of weeks ago.  But what is the executive order supposed to add that we don’t already have on the books?  Haters aren’t gonna hate.  Taylor Swift didn’t sing:  “Executive orders gonna stop haters from hating”.

      As well, I thought after the whole “China Virus” thing that we were no longer going to name virus’s after geographic locations, to help prevent any future such ‘discrimination’ or hating on groups from the areas so described.  Yet, we now have the “UK variant” and the “South African variant”.  Even if we were to go with progressive thought and “UK” is OK to rag on because it’s majority “white”, last I checked South Africa was WAY majority black.  So isn’t being OK with using the term “South African variant” going to cause ‘discrimination’ or ‘hating on’ black people, similar to how the “China Virus” term ended up with ‘discrimination’ or ‘hating on’ all people of Asian origin?

      I’m not being flippant here, I don’t understand the logic of what is being considered problem terminology in virus naming and what is not.

      1. Ron Oertel

        I’m not being flippant here, I don’t understand the logic . . .

        What makes you assume that there’s any logic occurring, regarding any of the issues you cite?  🙂

        1. Alan Miller

          I do my best to understand people who think differently that I do.  Sometimes I learn something.  Sometimes I learn I will not ever understand some of the thinking.  Hoping to illicit some conversation.

        1. Bill Marshall

          You’re right, Alan… I should have substituted ‘credible’ for ‘real’… after all, there are cites from the Q-Anon folk, former Prez, MTG, other ‘sources’/cites that are ‘real’ (and there is definitely some overlap in those), but not necessarily ‘credible’… nor ‘truth’…

        2. Alan Miller

          There are those of us who believe truth is not absolute but relative, though reality less relative than truth.  Most have no idea what the heck I just said.

  4. Ron Glick

    “So, you cannot admit you were wrong… about history, facts, and motivations and seem obsessed with having on-campus folk vote and direct City policies and financial arrangements… like you are prefectly fine with representation without taxation…”

    I’m not sure which facts I had wrong. As for voting by students we are going to have to disagree. I do believe in representation without taxation. When I was young I didn’t pay much in taxes but I voted.

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
$ USD
Sign up for