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UTSA contributed $2.5 billion to the San Antonio economy in FY 2021

UTSA contributed $2.5 billion to the San Antonio economy in FY 2021

APRIL 12, 2023 — Drawing on its commitment to advance social mobility and economic prosperity, UTSA contributed $2.5 billion in total output to the Greater San Antonio economy in FY 2021, a 30% jump over three years according to its "Economic Contributions of The University of Texas at San Antonio Fiscal Year 2021 report." This significant economic contribution was driven in large part by UTSA’s new designation as a Tier One research university, which enabled the university to secure more funding for innovative research and expand its advising services to business owners and entrepreneurs in South Texas.

UTSA attained the Tier One designation in December 2021. The classification, also known as Carnegie R1, aligns the university with the top 4% of U.S. research institutions, an elite class of colleges and universities that are at the forefront of research and innovation.

Tier One institutions support their regions by drawing new talent and innovative businesses and by advancing collaborative research programs, joint funding applications and research exchanges. They attract the world’s brightest minds and educate their workforce to tackle pressing global challenges.

“It validates what our supporters have known for a very long time: An investment in UTSA is an investment in San Antonio and the state of Texas.”

“When you look at cities with strong economies, the likelihood is very high that they will be home to one or more Tier One research universities. These anchoring institutions have the ability to dramatically fuel social mobility and economic prosperity in their regions,” said UTSA President Taylor Eighmy. “The Institute for Economic Development’s study provides an indicator of just how significant that impact can be. It validates what our supporters have known for a very long time: An investment in UTSA is an investment in San Antonio and the state of Texas.”

Led by Javier Oyakawa, senior economist, and Tom Tunstall, senior director of the Center for Community and Business Research (CCBR), at the UTSA Institute of Economic Development (IED), the FY 2021 economic report measured UTSA’s contribution and impact in four categories: (1) out-of-the-area student expenditures and spending; (2) operations and maintenance expenditures, including salaries and wages; (3) capital and construction expenditures and (4) the community engagement work of the university’s Institute for Economic Development.

Spending was recorded in the San Antonio Metropolitan Statistical Area (SAMSA), defined as the eight-county region that includes Atascosa, Bandera, Bexar, Comal, Guadalupe, Kendall, Medina and Wilson Counties.

Out-of-SAMSA and international student expenses accounted for $298 million of UTSA’s total output impact. The university generated this impact from 13,410 students out-of-SAMSA and international students in FY 2021. These students directly spent $197.7 million on living expenses, which is considered “new money” for the area.

The university’s operating expenditures, including wages and salaries for its faculty and staff and spending on research and development programs, generated a total output contribution of $1.1 billion. Over the past five years alone, UTSA’s research spending has risen steadily by 106% from $67.8 million in FY 2017 to $140 million in FY 2021, driven sharply by transformative research programs in national security, biomedicine and other areas.

UTSA’s multimillion-dollar investment to increase its footprint in downtown San Antonio generated a $112.9 million total output impact. This includes construction projects such as San Pedro I, which opened in January 2023 and houses the UTSA School of Data Science and National Security Collaboration Center.

A sizeable portion of UTSA’s total contribution was derived from the activities of the IED, which provides growth services and counseling to small businesses in San Antonio and South Texas. In addition to helping its clients generate $944.4 million in total output contribution, the institute helped its clients create or retain jobs which resulted in a total contribution of 5,022 positions and was an instrumental resource to business owners during the pandemic.

Learn more about the UTSA Institute for Economic Development, which houses 10 programs and centers that are facilitating economic, community and business development and its Center for Community and Business Research.

UTSA activities generated $39.7 million in local government revenues, a 20% increase from the $32.7 million reported in 2018. At the same time, the university generated $33.2 million in state government revenues.

“Obtaining R1 status is strengthening UTSA’s rapid trajectory as a driver of economic opportunities and social mobility for the Greater San Antonio region,” said Rod McSherry, UTSA associate vice president of economic development. “As the university advances its strategic plan in the coming years, we expect this impact to grow even more.”

Christi Fish and Sarah Hada

UTSA Today is produced by University Strategic Communications,
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of The University of Texas at San Antonio.

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UTSA’s Mission

The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.

UTSA’s Vision

To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.

UTSA’s Core Values

We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.

UTSA’S Destinations

UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education .

Our Commitment to Inclusivity

The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Hispanic Serving Institution situated in a global city that has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures for centuries, values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. As an institution expressly founded to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved communities, our university is committed to promoting access for all. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.