Study Shows UB's Billion-Dollar Impact

University of Bridgeport brick sign

A new study by the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges demonstrates that the University of Bridgeport makes an astonishing billion-dollar economic impact on the local economy.

The 2021 Economic Impact Study by the Connecticut Independent College and University Institute for Research and Public Service, Inc., used actual investment spending data to calculate its results. The total economic impact measured a university’s activity through both direct and induced spending, including direct spending by employees, students, and visitors, as well as purchases and investment spending by the university. “UB is one of the most underrecognized assets in the state, not just the Bridgeport area,” says Mayor Joe Ganim.

The study shows that the money spent directly by the university, university employees, students, and visitors reached $637,224,702, an incredible number by itself. The induced economic impact included the additional employment and expenditures of local industries that resulted because of direct spending and amounted to $429,234,560. Combined, these figures leave the staggering number of $1,066,459,262, establishing just how much the university contributes economically to the region. 

The study also shows that the University of Bridgeport creates jobs – 7,748 to be precise, a number that far exceeds those employed at the university itself. That points to a much deeper partnership between town and gown than some might imagine. Mayor Ganim agrees.

“Although I’m a graduate of UB and teach there as an adjunct professor, the connection is not just personal,” he says. “The city and university have been partners since the beginning.”

Business leaders did not need a study to tell them the importance of having a university in Bridgeport. “From an economic perspective, there’s plenty of research that shows the benefits of a nearby university,” says Dan Onofrio, the president and CEO of the Bridgeport Regional Business Council. “We’re fortunate to have UB in the South End.” Onofrio also notes that along with direct and indirect spending, the university also provides an educated work force. “The talent coming out of UB is top notch,” he says. “We’re looking forward to being an active participant in bridging the gap between business and the university.”

The jobs created and sourced by the university are in addition to the various community field placements of nursing, chiropractic, acupuncture, and dental hygiene professionals, as well as a large number of psychology and human services majors who serve local internships as part of their graduation requirements. “I’m in constant contact with our community partners,” says Melanie Strout, Director of Civic Engagement. “Our impact is beyond just dollars.” 

Strout helps facilitate dozens of work-studies with ten community non-profits, with a total of 3700 hours last year. And UB students give back in other ways, too – creating care packages, cleaning parks, and registering voters. “We give a lot to Bridgeport in traditional service hours, too,” says Strout. “It is part of our mission.”

And though UB’s alumni are spread around the world, the study found that Connecticut alone is home to 19,288 Purple Knights. Those alums have long known the impact their alma mater has had, on them, on Bridgeport, and on the region. Now we have the numbers to prove it.