University of Missouri–St. Louis alumni contribute $13.4 billion to Missouri’s economy

by | Mar 18, 2022

A study by Tripp Umbach also found that UMSL contributed more than $429 million in both direct and indirect impact to the state's economy.
UMSL alumni watch a Cardinals game at Busch Stadium

More than 76,000 UMSL graduates remain in Missouri to work and live, and they contribute more than $13.4 billion to the state’s economy. (Photo by August Jennewein)

The University of Missouri–St. Louis has the largest alumni base in the St. Louis area, and its graduates help drive the economy of the region and the wider state.

UMSL has more than 76,000 graduates living and working in Missouri, and a report completed by nationally recognized consulting firm Tripp Umbach found they contributed $13.4 billion in in-state spending to Missouri’s economy in Fiscal Year 2021.

“Graduates of the University of Missouri–St. Louis can be found in top leadership positions at some of St. Louis’ biggest companies, but many more are employees and small-business owners, working daily to serve their fellow citizens, support their own families and help our region thrive,” Chancellor Kristin Sobolik said. “UMSL educates St. Louis, and the knowledge and skills our students learn here prepare them to make an impact throughout the workforce and help grow our economy.”

A previously released economic impact report of the University of Missouri System from Tripp Umbach found UMSL contributed more than $429 million in both direct and indirect impact to Missouri’s economy while supporting 5,485 full-time and part-time jobs throughout the state.

The new report contained even more detail about the important role UMSL plays as an economic engine in Missouri.

UMSL researchers have been expanding their research efforts and productivity. In 2021, UMSL realized a 32% increase in external grant proposals, which led to an increase in external awards of nearly 10%. UMSL’s had $32 million in grant-sponsored activities, including research.

The research activity and spending at UMSL has wider impact, creating employment and government revenue throughout the state. In Fiscal Year 2021, UMSL’s research enterprise generated $100.3 million in economic impact while supporting and sustaining 692 jobs. It also generated more than $5.4 million in state and local tax revenue.

“Research produces benefits that go beyond the dollars awarded in particular grants,” said Chris Spilling, UMSL’s vice chancellor for research and economic and community development. “There’s significant economic expansion and employment generated through the innovation of our faculty members when they’re able to commercialize their research activities. Our research in areas such as social science can also help inform decisions about how the state, local governments and businesses or nonprofits invest their resources to have maximum benefit on the communities they serve.”

UMSL is home to the state’s only College of Optometry, which operates three clinics in the St. Louis area as well as a mobile eye center, to help train optometrists and bring affordable, accessible and high-quality eye care to the community.

The College of Nursing also continues to be a leader in training and graduating the nurses that staff area hospitals and clinics. The university, with support the support of state and federal funding and philanthropic donations, has been making a $7 million investment to expand its nursing simulation lab, allowing it to increase the number of nurses it trains annually.

UMSL also helps educate mental health professionals and provides outreach, treatment and research centers, including the Missouri Institute of Mental Health, which does work on mental illness, addiction, traumatic brain injury, HIV and AIDS and more.

All told, the economic impact of UMSL’s academic medicine programs totaled $80 million in Fiscal Year 2021. These activities supported 842 jobs and generated $6.4 million in state and local tax revenue.

The university’s employees and students generated more than $1.7 million in charitable donations and volunteer services in Missouri. That included $960,000 contributed directly to local charitable causes and the equivalent of $759,000 in volunteer hours to area communities.

UMSL’s 17 NCAA Division II sports teams don’t always get a lot of attention in a city where fan interest focuses overwhelmingly on the local professional teams. But the Tritons have enjoyed plenty of success on the court, field, course or pool in recent seasons, and UMSL Athletics has also had an economic impact of $15.4 million, supporting 172 jobs and generating $825,000 in state and local taxes.

Tripp Umbach staff used primary data collected from UMSL, including capital expenditures, operational expenditures, employee figures, payroll and benefits, taxes paid to local and state governments, visitation numbers for campus events, student figures, and proportions of students who live on and off campus to accurately measure their spending in the local area. Values in the report were generated by direct, indirect and induced operational spending, capital spending, payroll, visitor spending and student spending throughout Missouri.

Steve Walentik

Steve Walentik