Spending by the university, its students, faculty and staff account for about 20 percent of the city’s sales and use tax collections, according to a 2015 economic impact study released Tuesday by the university.This analysis proves that Colorado State University is the largest driver of the Larimer County economy.

The university’s economic impact includes money spent on apartments, hotels for visiting parents, restaurants and bars, bike shops and clothing stores. It includes patents secured from research and startups, philanthropic donations and the brainpower that fuels thousands of jobs statewide.

Spending by CSU students, faculty, staff and administration accounts for $36 million in local sales and use tax revenue and supports about 14,000 jobs in Fort Collins. Statewide, CSU contributed more than $460 million to the state’s bottom line in 2015 and helped create 19,000 jobs, the study showed.

In addition to this, CSU also spends more than $300 million a year on research — along with startup businesses and licensing agreements — adding $34 million in additional state tax revenue.

Research done at the university generated 49 new patents in 2015 and accounted for the creation of 30 new startups in the past five years.

CSU-related activities led to:

  • the equivalent of 10,425 jobs and $676 million in annual household income
  • 49 new patents in 2015, and 200 licensing agreements over the past five years
  • 30 new startups in the past five years directly connected to CSU


“As we’re in the day-to-day, we don’t often get the opportunity to pull back and see the macro impact to the state and city as we work one-on-one through these licenses, technologies and startups,” said Todd Headley, president of CSU Ventures, which supports technology transfer at CSU. “It’s really gratifying to see what the impact is when you look at the broad picture.”

You can read more about CSU’s economic impact here.

You can find the full report here.