State lawmakers continue haggling over the $600 million shortfall in next year’s budget. State higher education leaders are bracing for further cuts. And on Thursday, the University of New Orleans sought to frame the discussion by releasing a report touting the school’s expansive economic contributions to the region.
The analysis, conducted by UNO’s division of business and economic research, said that the Lakefront school generated nearly $470 million in direct and indirect spending throughout the eight-parish New Orleans metro area.
Noting that the school received about $28 million in state support during the current fiscal year, UNO President John Nicklow said the school generates “a staggering rate of return.”
UNO’s analysis estimated nearly $285 million in direct spending and $185 million in secondary spending. The breakdown included about $97 million spent by UNO’s daily operations; an estimated $25 million by students who were not local residents when they enrolled; nearly $5 million spent by out-of-town visitors like parents, prospective students or athletes who visit UNO; and about $343 million by UNO’s 42,000 alumni who live in the eight-parish area.
“As expected, a very large amount of UNO alumni decided to stay in the New Orleans area after graduation,” the report said.
For the year, UNO spent about $65 million on salary and wages, according to the study. If it were a private employer, UNO’s 1,115 employees would rank it among the area’s top 10 private employers in the area.
UNO also generated nearly $13 million in tax revenue for state and local coffers, according to the study. The metro area included of Orleans, Jefferson, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist and St. Tammany parishes.