State investment in the University of Hawaii pays substantial dividends

New study shows UH contributions to Hawaii's economy continue to grow

University of Hawaiʻi
David Hammes, (808) 756-6681
Sandra Furuto, (808) 956-7487
Office of the Vice President for Academic Planning and Policy
Posted: Mar 3, 2008

HONOLULU — A new study recently completed by the University of Hawaiʻi shows that it was a $1.66 billion player in Hawaiʻi‘s economy in 2006 and that figure continues to grow.

The $1.66 billion includes general fund expenditures and additional outlays generated through government research and training grants, revolving funds, special funds and federal matching grants. It also includes spending by students (on other than tuition, fees, dorm fees and books), money spent by the privately-funded UH Foundation and Research Corporation of the University of Hawaiʻi, out of state visitor spending while attending UH sporting events and UH-sponsored conferences and professional meetings, and UH employee retiree benefits.

Overall, the university increases each dollar of general funds appropriated by the Legislature by an additional $1.88. In addition, for every dollar of general fund spending by UH, it generates $4.25 of total business sales and $2.59 of labor earnings. UH expenditures resulted in $148 million in state tax revenues during the 2006 fiscal year, representing 3.33 percent of total state taxes.

According to UH President David McClain, "the figures confirm that the University of Hawaiʻi continues to be a major player in the economic health of the state and that the state‘s investment in the university pays substantial dividends. The information also provides a vehicle for the Legislature and public to understand and value their university."

Total UH-related expenditures in fiscal 2006 directly and indirectly generated $2.44 billion of business sales, 37,316 jobs and $1.49 billion of earnings to households in Hawaiʻi. UH represented about 2.84 percent of Hawaiʻi‘s economy (gross state product) of $58.3 billion.

The updated study was commissioned by UH Vice President for Academic Planning and Policy Linda Johnsrud and jointly funded by the UH System and the UH Foundation. The project was conducted by David Hammes, a professor of economics at UH Hilo. It was the second update of a 2000 study that measured the impact of the 10-campus system on the state‘s economy.

The reports and brochures of the original study and its updates are available online at

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