San Francisco State UniversityWeb A-ZFind it Fast

SFSU pumps nearly $1.2 billion into Bay Area economy



Susan Arthur
SFSU Office of Public Affairs
(415) 338-1665


Ligeia Polidora
SFSU Office of Public Affairs
(415) 338-1665



Press Release published by the Office of Public Affairs


Economic impact analysis reports campus' financial contributions

SAN FRANCISCO, November 19, 2003 -- San Francisco State University and its students contributed nearly $1.2 billion to the San Francisco Bay Area economy and supported about 15,150 Bay Area jobs in fiscal year 2002-03 through direct and indirect spending, according to a recent economic impact analysis.

Prepared by SFSU associate professor of economics Michael J. Potepan, the economic impact report also states that the recent $9.4 million net budget cut resulting from California's fiscal crisis will reduce the University's direct and indirect economic contributions in the current fiscal year by almost $30 million and could result in the loss of nearly 390 off-campus Bay Area jobs.

"San Francisco State's impact extends far beyond the educational and research programs it provides," said Potepan. "This report clearly shows the broader economic and social benefits that the University brings to the city and the Bay Area."

SFSU is a major economic force in the Bay Area. For every dollar received from California's General Fund, the University returns $3.82 back to the local and state economy.

With more than 28,000 students, SFSU ranked third in Bay Area university student enrollment and is the city's 23rd largest employer, according to annual rankings compiled by the San Francisco Business Times. In 2002-03, the University and its auxiliaries employed 3,490 people (including faculty) and awarded baccalaureate degrees to 4,708 students, and master's degrees to 1,298 students.

Most of the campus' more than 150,000 living alumni have settled in the Bay Area. The report notes that as graduates enter or re-enter the local workforce, their contributions over time easily dwarf the University's spending contributions.

The report explains that the University's impact on the region ripples beyond its direct spending, resulting in additional purchases -- termed "indirect spending" --elsewhere in the local economy.

During 2002-03, the University accounted for more than $341 million in direct spending. Of that sum, $165 million (48 percent) was for employee salaries and benefits, $145 million (42 percent) was for purchases of goods and services from Bay Area businesses and the remainder was for financial aid to students.

SFSU students pumped an extra $387 million (excluding student fees, books and supplies counted in the University's revenue) into the economy through their direct expenditures for goods and services.

Adding the $387 million in student purchases to the University's $320 million in direct expenditures (revenue from student financial aid was removed to avoid double-counting) brings the total direct spending to $707 million. This direct spending generated another $458 million in indirect expenditures throughout the region, making the grand total amount of Bay Area economic activity equal to $1.166 billion or nearly $1.2 billion.

Direct and indirect spending by the University and students supported an additional 11,662 jobs throughout the region beyond the 3,490 already employed by the University, for a total of 15,150.

SFSU attracted nearly $50 million in externally sponsored research, scholarly activities and community projects, a 270 percent increase in funding since 1992-93. According to the University's Office of Research and Sponsored Programs in fiscal year 2002-03, approximately 520 students, 37 lecturers, 20 postdoctoral researchers and 375 hourly and salaried staff were employed by external funds.

Among some of the other significant findings of the report:

  • Since 1990, SFSU has spent almost $250 million on construction of new buildings and renovation and retrofitting of existing buildings. This translates to an average annual capital spending level of more than $19 million. Currently, the University's two largest capital spending projects have a multi-year budget of nearly $38 million.
  • Forty-five percent of students came from other countries, other states or from outside the Bay Area, bringing new spending to the local economy that would not have occurred otherwise. Out-of-state students and students from outside the nine- county Bay Area spent $102.4 million during the academic year. International students, who make up 19 percent of the total student population, spent an additional $86 million.
  • A full-time undergraduate student living off-campus spends about $16,250 on fees, books, room and board, transportation and personal expenses, during the nine-month academic year.

A complete copy of the economic analysis report is available online at:


San Francisco State University Home     Search     Need Help?    

1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132  415/338-1111
Last modified April 20, 2007, by the Office of Public Affairs