Press Release - Study Shows USM 'Ivory Power' in Maryland Economy

February 5, 2001

Study Shows USM 'Ivory Power' in Maryland Economy

A new study shows that University System of Maryland (USM) institutions account for billions of dollars of additional revenues to the State through the increased earnings of graduates and the economic activity generated by out-of-state students and visitors.  The study, by the Jacob France Institute at the University of Baltimore, also found that the USM's contributions to workforce development and the creation of new businesses and technology are key to the state's economic fortunes - its resilience to economic downturns and its capacity for economic growth.

The study, which examined the actual earnings of the 1986 and 1989 graduates of the USM's 11 degree granting institutions, determined that earnings of USM graduates far exceeds the state's cost of producing the graduates.

  • The USM's 1986 and 1989 graduating classes will earn an additional $21 billion, generating over $1.8 billion in increased state revenues. 
  • For each $1 the state invested in the USM's 1986 graduates, it will receive $3.20.
  • For each $1 the state invested in the USM's 1989 graduates, it will receive $2.60.

The study analyzed the impact of just two graduating classes. All USM graduates make similar contributions to Maryland's economy.

Donald N. Langenberg, chancellor of the USM, said that while the France study's intent is to quantify the System's impact on the state, it also confirms what many national observers have been saying in recent years about its rising profile in public higher education.

"Across the country, the USM institutions are becoming known as an economic engine of enormous energy and vitality," Langenberg said. "Other states are even beginning to emulate our model, which ensures that campuses experience sustained growth especially in areas where professionals are most needed, like education, health care, and information technology. Too often, college and universities are accused of having an 'ivory-tower' mentality, but in Maryland we've adopted the strategy of 'ivory power.' The System's economic impact doesn't make our state recession-proof, but it makes downturns easier to manage, and accelerates our recovery."

The study found the USM is maintaining and improving the state's competitive edge by supplying the vast majority of college and university graduates in the state. In 2000, among all public and private colleges and universities in Maryland, the USM awarded:

  • 100 percent of all graduate degrees in agriculture, architecture, library sciences, and public affairs.
  • 100 percent of all doctoral degrees in business and communications.
  • 100 percent of all professional degrees in law, dentistry and pharmacy.
  • 65 percent of all bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and professional degrees.
Through research, public/private partnerships, business incubators, technology transfer, and other connections to the private sector, the study also noted the USM institutions' intimate involvement in the economic development of Maryland.

The USM's four research universities are generating new technologies, conducting basic research, and commercializing research discoveries. For example, from 1994 to 1999, a total of 14 start-up companies were formed based on technology developed at USM institutions. In FY 1999 the USM accounted for:
  • 43 percent of invention disclosures.
  • 38 percent of new patent applications.
  • 23 percent of patents issued to major Maryland universities.
In FY 1999, the USM's research and development expenditures exceeded $462 million, accounting for almost one-fourth (24 percent) of federally sponsored R&D expenditures in Maryland and for 22 percent of industry R&D expenditures.

The executive summary and full report of the Jacob France Institute's study on the economic impact of the USM will be available on the USM website soon. 

For more information:
Contact at USM:
Francis Canavan
Phone: 301/445-2722

Contact at the Jacob France Institute:
Richard P. Clinch
Phone: 410/837-4988