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Campus & Community

Drexel’s Impact on Pennsylvania’s Economy: $2.4 Billion

November 26, 2012

Image of Drexel's campus and the city of Philadelphia

Drexel University’s annual economic impact within Pennsylvania through its spending, increased earning power of alumni and the spending of students and visitors to Drexel is $2.4 billion, according to a new study by the Econsult Corporation that was released by the University. Drexel’s annual economic impact within the city of Philadelphia is $1.5 billion.

Drexel’s impact comes from activities that are of utmost importance to the city and Commonwealth, and to the world at large: human capital investment, academic and medical research, civic engagement and neighborhood economic development. Drexel has distinguished itself at both a local and global level in these areas, and its current trajectory suggests continued advancement, for the benefit of the city, Commonwealth and beyond, according to the Econsult report.

“The size and scope of the economic impact of a major university like Drexel is enormous,” said Drexel University President John A. Fry. “We are proud of how Drexel contributes to the regional economy by creating jobs and growing Pennsylvania’s tax base.”

Econsult found that Drexel’s impact is robust and far-reaching, from Philadelphia throughout the Commonwealth, and across a wide variety of industries. The University is responsible for a large amount of operational and capital spending in Pennsylvania. Drexel’s impact in numbers follows below.

Annual impact in Pennsylvania:

  • $2.4 billion: this number measures the impact of Drexel’s spending, the increased earning power of Drexel alumni and the spending of students and visitors to Drexel.
  • 27,400 jobs for Pennsylvanians: this number goes well beyond the 9,500 directly employed by Drexel, and impacts a wide range of employment sectors.
  • $68 million in state and local tax revenues: higher education is a driving economic force in the Commonwealth and Drexel is a leader in generating government revenues.
  • Drexel’s commitment to life-saving research and civic engagement improves the quality of life for Pennsylvanians far beyond the impact of the dollars spent on those activities.

Impact of direct spending:

Drexel’s direct operating expenditures in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania totaled $736 million the 2011 fiscal year. When vendors ramp up their activity to meet demand, and their employees spend their wages in Pennsylvania, these activities lead to increased tax revenues and the economic and fiscal impact of Drexel’s budget grows even further.

  • $1.7 billion for Pennsylvania’s economy
  • 20,200 jobs earning $790 million
  • $51 million in tax revenue


Impact of capital investment:

The University’s continued investment in its campuses has helped bolster Pennsylvania against one of the deepest recessions in modern history. That investment creates jobs and growth. Drexel’s campus master plan calls for a new generation of projects that will support the success of the University’s students and faculty, and make Drexel and Philadelphia one of the nation’s great innovation hubs. The $70 million renovation of the URBN Center, home of the University’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, and the $92 million LeBow College of Business building, set to open in 2014, are among the major construction projects reshaping Drexel’s campus.

  • $95 million for Pennsylvania’s economy
  • 800 jobs earning $31 million
  • $2 million in taxes


Impact on Philadelphia:

  • Drexel’s impact within Philadelphia is $1.5 billion annually. Of this $1.2 billion is generated from operating activities, $59 million from capital investment and $287 million from visitor spending.
  • Drexel is responsible for 17,600 jobs in Philadelphia: 15,000 from direct spending earning $566 million/year, 250 jobs from capital investment earning $10 million/year and 2,350 from visitor spending earning $43 million/year.
  • The University generates $30 million in tax revenues: $27 million from direct spending, $0.6 million from capital investment and $2.6 million from visitor spending.

Impact on community and society:

Drexel’s researchers are focused on real-world solutions, and the University’s civically engaged students and employees are committed to supporting neighborhoods and improving lives. Together, their impact creates real value for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the nation and the world. A few areas where Drexel is making a difference are: improving education in public schools, building healthier communities, providing life-saving solutions through translational research and enhancing global knowledge.

“It’s clear that Drexel is a force for prosperity for Pennsylvania’s families and businesses,” said Fry. “Our strategic vision for Drexel explicitly includes ramping up our economic development efforts, to continue growing our impact. We are proud to help move Pennsylvania and Philadelphia forward.”

The full Drexel summary of the Econsult study and the Econsult in-depth economic impact study are available at:

Media Contact:

Niki Gianakaris