UI boosts local economy

Turning out well-educated people with the skills and perspectives necessary to keep the economy robust and the quality of life in society high is a major part of the mission of the University of Iowa. The impact of the Iowa City-based, 166-year-old institution of higher learning on the Hawkeye State goes well beyond its strictly educational role.

That was the message Sally Mason, UI president, brought to The Messenger’s editorial board during a wide-ranging discussion about the university’s present strengths and future prospects earlier this month.

Mason pointed out that while the 492 UI alumni who live in Webster County obviously have helped shape the community and will undoubtedly continue play important roles in the years ahead, they are just part of the story. She said UI also boosts the local economy very directly through the goods and services it purchases. Additionally, the highly specialized health care services available through the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics are being used by many local residents.

Mason said that during the last year, UI has done business with 14 Webster County companies, spending $866,078 locally. On the health care front, 3,788 Webster County residents were served by the university’s hospitals and clinics during the most recent year for which data are available. Additionally, 201 people from this county took advantage of the care offered at UI outreach clinics. All of that is in addition to the educational opportunities being pursued by the 111 students from Webster County who were enrolled at UI during the 2012-2013 academic year.

Ten counties that represent the core of The Messenger’s circulation area – Calhoun, Greene, Hamilton, Humboldt, Kossuth, Palo Alto, Pocahontas, Sac, Webster and Wright. UI’s impact on Webster County is the most significant because that county has the largest population. The summary totals for 10 counties, however, document a broad, deep relationship between UI and region. Here are the statistical highlights:

UI alumni – 1,532

Current UI students – 402

Annual patient visits to UI Hospitals and Clinics – 10,934

Companies selling goods or service to UI – 33

Amount spent in the region by UI – $1,312,807