University of New England's Economic Impact in Maine Tops $738 Million

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The University of New England’s economic impact on the state of Maine has risen more than 31 percent in just three years, to a remarkable $738 million per year.

University of New England

University of New England

What is particularly striking in 2013 is how UNE’s rising student enrollments, establishment of two new colleges, campus facilities investment, and employment growth have driven these impressive numbers.
-- UNE President Danielle Ripich, Ph.D.

The 2013 independent study, conducted on behalf of University of New England by chief economist Chuck Lawton of Planning Decisions, underscores UNE’s significant and growing economic benefit to the state of Maine.

UNE’s contributions to student education, work force development, and Maine’s quality of life are well-established. This most recent report reflects more than a threefold increase since PDI’s initial UNE study in 2007, which revealed a $233 million impact.

“The University of New England has always served as an economic driver, enriching the life of Maine’s communities. But what is particularly striking in 2013 is how UNE’s rising student enrollments, establishment of two new colleges, campus facilities investment, and employment growth have driven these impressive numbers,” says UNE President Danielle N. Ripich, Ph.D.

A snapshot of the 2013 report reveals:

  •     UNE serves over 8,000 enrolled students, including 5,600 full-time students:

o    Approximately 3,600 attend UNE’s Biddeford or Portland Campus programs, with 2,500 coming to UNE from outside Maine
o    Close to 2,000 (within and outside of Maine) pursue distance education
o    UNE students spend $33 million per year in Maine.

  •     UNE employs 1,059 people, pays over $76 million in salary and benefits, and spends $69 million in non-personnel operating expenses – over $32 million of which went directly to Maine businesses. It is the 7th largest employer in York County and the 26th largest in the state.
  •     UNE has created 179 new jobs in Maine since 2009, an increase of more than 20%. Over the same period, total wage and salary employment in Maine grew less than 2% and dropped 0.7% among Maine’s top-50 employers.
  •     UNE employees reside in 93 Maine municipalities representing every county in the state.
  •     UNE provides sales for 745 vendors located in 97 municipalities representing every county in Maine.
  •     UNE-generated spending creates over $22 million in state and local tax revenue.
  •     UNE’s 576-acre Biddeford Campus and 41-acre Portland Campus include 56 buildings and together are valued at more than $240 million. Over the past seven years, the University has spent nearly $115 million maintaining and upgrading its facilities.
  •     Clinical services provided by more than 1,000 UNE graduate and professional students as part of their educational programs is valued at more than $21 million.
  •     UNE attracts more than 15,000 out-of-state visitors who spend over $11.5 million each year in Maine.
  •     UNE’s cumulative economic impact amounts to $738 million in sales to Maine businesses, supporting the equivalent of 2,700 jobs earning a total of over $133 million.

One of UNE’s greatest long-term economic contributions to the state is the estimated $323 million human capital impact created by its graduates who choose to stay, live and work in Maine. The profound positive effect that UNE graduates have on Maine’s work force will continue to grow as new programs meeting the needs of the state – such as dental medicine – are introduced.

Additionally, UNE is a significant contributor to Maine’s cultural landscape:

  •     The Center for Global Humanities offers seminars and lectures by leading scholars from around the world. The Center believes in the vital necessity of a humanities culture to civic and democratic life and works closely with local communities to encourage reading, discussion and debate.
  •     UNE’s Portland Campus is home to both the Art Gallery and the acclaimed Maine Women Writers Collection, a permanently endowed library special collection of literary, cultural, and social history sources by and about Maine women authors.
  •     UNE’s Biddeford Campus is home to the George and Barbara Bush Center and Legacy Collection, which houses material anchoring the Bush legacy in Maine.
  •     The Maine Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Network, which operates from UNE’s Center for Community and Public Health, delivers critical health care education and resources to rural and underserved communities in nine Maine counties.

About University of New England

The University of New England (UNE) is an innovative health sciences university grounded in the liberal arts, with two distinctive coastal Maine campuses and unique study abroad opportunities. UNE has internationally recognized scholars in the sciences, health, medicine and humanities; offers more than 40 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs; and is home to Maine’s only medical school. It is one of a handful of private universities with a comprehensive health education mission including medicine, pharmacy, dental medicine, nursing and an array of allied health professions. UNE's interprofessional education initiatives prepare future healthcare professionals to practice comprehensive and collaborative team-based care. Both graduate and undergraduate students engage in research and scholarship alongside dedicated faculty who are committed to their academic and professional success.

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Kathleen Taggersell
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