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CMU releases 2019 regional impact study

University continues achieving a high degree of economic impact in western Colorado

Grand Junction, CO- Colorado Mesa University remains a significant economic contributor to the western Colorado economy. The university contributed $468.7 million in direct and indirect investment in fiscal year 2017-18. 

In the newly released economic impact study, the university also reports 2,885 additional jobs were created due to regional spending by CMU.  

The economic impact comes while while CMU makes significant progress towards its academic goals as set forth in the university’s strategic plan. 

“The significant impact CMU has on the economy in this region is a result of doing business, but the business we are in is educating people — which remains our driving force,” said CMU President Tim Foster. “The people we educate today will provide future economic benefit long after the contributions of today are celebrated.” 

Colorado Mesa University's core mission is to prepare students to be successful for their entire career. The base of this mission is strong academic programs taught by highly qualified faculty using current technologies in exceptional facilities. The university continues to build upon that base to improve student's opportunities and the region. 

In 2018, CMU continued investing in the quality of the region’s health care workforce by adding additional graduate programs and health care training. The university offers 13 health-care-related credentials ranging from certificates to doctorate level degrees. CMU is currently pursuing additional funds to complete the important physician’s assistant and physical therapy facility, which is currently under consideration from Colorado’s legislature. 

"Colorado Mesa University is helping to prepare the next generation of Colorado's workforce and is making a significant economic and social impact in the process,” said Chris Thomas, Community Hospital president and CEO. “Health care remains one of the largest economic sectors in the region with a large workforce. It’s fitting that CMU is contributing economically, while also making huge strides toward maintaining a high quality health care workforce going forward.”

Grand Junction Area Chamber President and CEO Diane Schwenke said her organization is pleased to see the university benefits a diverse range of local businesses from north avenue merchants and main street businesses to Mesa Mall vendors and local construction firms. 

“We were glad to join CMU to announce the report at a local business," said Schwenke. “The announcement’s location helped symbolize that CMU students benefit small, local businesses which are just as important as the large-scale projects, like the campus teaching hotel, that are more visible in the community.”

Increasing the educational attainment of West Slope citizens is the ongoing work of the university. As that occurs, a more immediate impact on the region’s economy, is the role the university's facilities play in hosting regional events. The CMU University Center hosted more than 425,000 visitors in fiscal year 2017-18 while additional events and facilities attracted an estimated 137,000 visitors — those visitors direct impact is nearly $46 million.   

The study quantifies the economic impact of CMU during FY 2017-18 and examines CMU’s direct spending in five categories — the university, employees, students, visitors and capital. A conservative multiplier of 1.8 is then applied to calculate indirect spending, producing an estimated total economic impact of the university.

 University expenditures in western Colorado - $ 34.3 million

  • Employee salary/wage expenditure - $ 29.9 million
  • Student expenditures - $128.1 million
  • Visitor expenditures - $ 45.9 million
  • Capital expenditures in western Colorado - $ 22.1 million


  • Total direct expenditures in western Colorado - $260.3 million
  • Total impact (with indirect multiplier of 1.8) - $468.7 million 

Spending by CMU students is the single largest component of the university’s economic impact. Kiln Coffee Bar Owner David Foster hosted CMU President Tim Foster and other local businesses for the regional impact report announcement and supports CMU and the university’s students.

“We serve many students and their presence enriches the downtown experience," said David Foster. "From providing a place where they form lasting friendships to providing a space for academic study — our business values the students, professors and staff we serve for what they bring to the community and economy.”

Media and the community are encouraged to review the full Economic Impact Report.


Written by David Ludlam