An economic impact study reveals that the University of Virginia’s College at Wise pumped $84 million into Virginia’s economy and had a strong $64 million overall economic impact on the seven coalfield counties and the city of Norton in fiscal year 2015.

The study, conducted by Tripp Umbach, a nationally recognized consulting firm, revealed that the College’s 387 employees generated additional spending in Virginia and supported 680 jobs in the Commonwealth. Regionally, UVa-Wise employees, students and visitors spend money locally, which supported 586 jobs in the LENOWISCO and Cumberland Plateau planning districts.

“The analysis shows that UVa-Wise has a tremendous impact on Virginia and the region,” Chancellor Donna P. Henry said. “The cumulative effect is even more impressive when the impact our employees, students and visitors have on the economy is examined. Our College has had the support of the region for more than 60 years, and it is encouraging to see that the campus is supporting the region’s economy in numerous ways.”

The University of Virginia retained Tripp Umbach to measure the economic, employment and government revenue impacts of operations and research of the University, the University Health system and the College at Wise. UVa-Wise is a division of the University. The study, using fiscal year 2015 data, examined the overall economic and fiscal impact the institutions have on their specific regions and Virginia.

To complete the analysis, Tripp Umbach measured the effect of direct, indirect and induced economic employment and government revenue impacts for UVa-Wise. The impact analysis included only the operations of UVa-Wise. The impact findings were generated at the state and LENOWISCO and Cumberland Plateau planning districts levels. Data included capital expenditures, operational expenditures, employment headcounts, payroll and benefits, taxes, and event information for fiscal year 2015.

According to the study, UVa-Wise was responsible for nearly $33.5 million in government revenues generated when the College, its employees, its 2,000 students and numerous visitors purchased goods in Virginia. The figure was $2.7 million specifically for the coalfield region.

In terms of community impact, UVa-Wise faculty, staff and students generated more than $5.8 million in charitable donations and volunteer services. More than $1 million was donated to local charitable organizations such as food banks, schools and other charities. The value of volunteer time provided to the region in projects such as Cavaliers Care: A Day of Service, Girls Day in STEM-H and other events totaled $4.7 million.

Tripp Umbach reported that on campus events, visits from students and families, and from others on college business spread money through local spending. The impact of those visits was $6.1 million, which supported 67 jobs and brought in more than $403,000 in state and local tax revenue.

UVa-Wise attracts students to the region, which boosts the local economy as students spend for food, merchandise and other goods. The economic impact of the students in fiscal year 2015 was $5.2 million, which supported 58 jobs and produced $287,000 in state and local taxes.

UVa-Wise, while a liberal arts school, is heavily involved in undergraduate research across all academic disciplines. According to the study, the research conducted on campus by students and faculty, which totaled $1.3 million in expenditures, resulted in $2.6 million in economic impact and supported 24 jobs.

“This shows that scholarship is important, faculty are interested, and students are more and more eager to have the opportunity to conduct research and learn outside the classroom,” said Academic Dean Amelia Harris.

The study also gave UVa-Wise clear evidence that its economic development efforts yielded positive results. The Office of Economic Development and Engagement, started in 2007 to continue the College’s mission to boost the region and its economy, worked with business and industries to create opportunities for students, strengthened partnerships with local and state economic developers, created internships, provided academic and professional programs and supported the Healthy Appalachia Institute.  The Higher Education Restructuring Act, which requires colleges to embrace economic development activities, made the College’s economic development efforts more critical.

“Colleges and universities have major impacts on the communities and regions in which they operate, and we are eager to find additional opportunities to engage our students and faculty in ways that will continually add value to Southwest Virginia and the broader region,” said Vice Chancellor for Economic Development and Engagement Shannon Blevins.

The analysis revealed that UVa-Wise, as does the University of Virginia, is a significant generator of economic, employment and government revenue in Virginia and locally.

Read the full study at