5 inventions a day. 529,000 jobs. Incomes average $151,656. UC’s brag sheet is eye-popping

People walk on campus at UCLA.
UCLA delivers the largest economic benefit to California among nine undergraduate campuses, including 55,000 jobs.
(Los Angeles Times )

Every college has its brag sheet. But the University of California has taken it to a whole new level with a 123-page report of exhaustive detail on jobs created, research performed, start-up businesses launched, tax dollars generated and students served.

The report, released Tuesday, may not have the most lyrical title: The University of California Systemwide Economic, Fiscal and Social Impact Analysis. The data are mind-numbing: What does it really mean to say that “UC-related spending delivers substantial economic and fiscal impacts annually to the state, generating $82.1 billion in economic output, $55.8 billion in value added (2% of GSP), $37.6 billion in labor income, and $4.2 billion in state and local tax revenue”?

But the report by Beacon Economics — released in the middle of college admissions season and state budget negotiations — contains some noteworthy facts:

  • In 2018, UC graduates earned an average $88,066 — $9,333 more in average annual earnings than other California employees with bachelor’s degrees. The UC premium was even higher for graduate degree holders, who earned an average $151,656, amounting to $35,429 more than other Californians with similar education. The data cover those who graduated between 1999 and 2018; although the report doesn’t explain why UC alumni earn more, it notes that their top career field is healthcare.
  • About 40% of UC students are the first in their families to attend college and earned at least $52,800 more annually in 2018 than Californians with only a high school degree.
  • UCLA delivers the largest economic benefits among nine undergraduate campuses, creating 55,890 jobs and $3.3 billion in labor income in California in 2018-19. But UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara and UC Santa Cruz have the greatest regional impacts as the largest employers in their respective counties. Overall, UC supported the creation of 529,000 jobs and $37.6 billion in labor income in 2018-19.
  • UC averages five new inventions a day, with nearly 11,000 active U.S. and foreign patents. UC inventions include the nicotine patch, a hepatitis B vaccine, drugs to treat prostate cancer and popular varieties of strawberry and citrus crops.
  • UC Berkeley produced the most startups funded by venture capital among undergraduate campuses in the world except Stanford as of June 2020. (Famous companies founded or cofounded by former UC students include Apple, Gap, Tesla, GoPro, Uber and Lyft.)
  • Each year, UC Health’s five hospitals treat some of the state’s most underserved communities, with roughly 70% of more than 8 million patients on Medi-Cal, Medicare or without health insurance. Medical education programs are training healthcare professionals for six underserved communities, including those with rural residents, Latinos and homeless people.

“UC’s economic ripple effect is so large that it touches every region in the state, including those without a campus or medical center,” UC President Michael V. Drake said in a statement. “Beyond economic impact, the University’s contributions in health, innovation and social equity are even more important to the lives of Californians.”


Board of Regents Chair John A. Pérez called UC’s impact “truly transformative and far-reaching” in powering the state economy and increasing equity and opportunity across social and ethnic groups.