UTEP a Strong Economic Engine in Region

March 1, 2011

Dr. David Schauer Dr. David Schauer

By Daniel Perez

The University of Texas at El Paso is in business to turn students with promise into successful members of the nation’s workforce. A recently released report showed that UTEP graduates and the state get a good return on their investment.

Not only that, but the 2010 Economic Impact of The University of Texas at El Paso stated that UTEP is a strong regional economic driver that generates $369 million in business volume.

The report, whose main author is David Schauer, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Economics and Finance at UTEP, said the data speaks well for the University and its students.

Consider that UTEP contributes to 7,050 local jobs and $452 million in household income. Its graduates can expect to earn between $423,000 and $540,000 more during their working lives than people without a bachelor’s degree.

“Our priority is to teach, but it’s nice to know that we also are a good economic engine in the region,” said Schauer, who has worked on economic impact studies for 30 years. “What this study says about education in general and education at UTEP in particular is that it is a means to income and that is significant to the region’s economic activity.”

The report, produced by the University’s Institute for Policy and Economic Development, used its Regional Impact Model to assess UTEP’s influence on El Paso County’s economy. The method, formerly known as the Caffrey-Isaacs Model, is considered the traditional approach to determine the economic impact of a college or university.

The results were based on the direct effect of University expenses and employment, as well as indirect and induced, or multiplier, effects. The report did not include factors such as the impact of campus construction; visitors to UTEP because of athletic, business or entertainment events; or University retirees in the region. Construction alone is supposed to increase business volume in the county by $139 million through 2013.

“Although we’re always pleased to receive validation of the University’s economic impact on this region, UTEP’s value goes well beyond dollars and cents,” said University President Diana Natalicio. She said UTEP’s decision to forge its own pathway to success has been paying rich dividends. The opportunity to work in state-of-the-art research and academic facilities with highly talented students has brought highly competitive faculty to the UTEP campus. In turn, they have been successful in attracting additional research dollars, international prestige and the attention of a new generation of undergraduate and graduate students, many of whom are bilingual, bicultural and the first in their families to attend college. Together, this all adds up to a robust, ambitious campus that intends to become the first national research university with a 21st century student demographic.

“UTEP’s efforts to serve as a catalyst for economic development will not only enhance the future prosperity and quality of life of this Paso del Norte region, but also increase opportunities for more talented UTEP graduates to remain here to pursue their professional careers.”

Natalicio’s work during the past 20 years has made the University one of the most critical and far-reaching components in the region’s economy, said Richard Dayoub, president and CEO of the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce.

He said that the University’s plan of “access and excellence” has made post-secondary education a reality for students who only considered it a dream. These graduates, along with the faculty and staff, help to raise the region’s standard of living and will for generations.

“The University is part of a synergy that has brought in numerous businesses that came to El Paso for the opportunity to hire UTEP graduates,” Dayoub said. “They’re the ones who buy the homes and the cars. They’re the ones who shop at our supermarkets and malls. They have an enormous impact.”


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