Economic Impact

The Economic Impact of Union College to the Local Economy

By Simona Balazs and Alison Davis, PhD
Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky - University of Kentucky

In general, it is well known that colleges have a positive influence on the educational attainment of students, on their future work benefits, social life, health and well-being as individuals. Colleges also play an important role in the local economy.

Early this year, the University of Kentucky released The Economic Impact of Union College to the Local Economy. This 13-page report highlights Union’s impact on the Knox County economy during the 2014-2015 fiscal year. This study analyzes Union’s impact, both directly and indirectly, in regard to job creation, wages, taxes, purchase of supplies and services.

The study concludes that Union has a total economic impact of nearly $41 million on the local economy.

“With this report, we were able to characterize the ripple effect that Union’s expenditures have throughout the local economy,” said Balazs. “These expenditures translate throughout the market and create very individualized economic effects.”

Some of the highlights of the report include:

  • Union College is the second largest employer in Knox County
  • The total economic impact of student tuition on the local economy is $16 million
  • The economic impact of room and board is $3.9 million
  • Union employs a total of 257 people. Additionally, 273 students work at the college
  • Union College paid $7.1 million in staff and faculty wages and $0.5 million in student salaries
  • The impact of new hires is 53 jobs, meaning for every 10 people Union hires, 3 jobs were created in the local economy
  • There were 385 participants in summer conferences at Union creating an impact of $112,777 on the local economy
  • The economic impact of Knox County vendors to the local economy is $4.3 million
  • Grants received by Union have had a total impact of $16.2 million on the local economy


Read the entire Union College Economic Impact Report.