Notre Dame Has $2.46B Economic Impact

Published Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Every five years, the University of Notre Dame measures itself and its impact on the local and regional economy by conducting an impact study. This year’s Economic Impact Report uses data primarily from fiscal year 2017, and includes a broader geographic area beyond South Bend and St. Joseph County, to include Elkhart and Marshall counties.

In summary, the report reveals that the University has a $2.46 billion annual economic impact within the three-county region, supporting 16,700 jobs and generating $52 million in state tax revenue. The $2.46 billion figure represents a sum of the University’s impact through its operations, capital investments; student, visitor and event-participant spending; and increased household income earned by its graduates.



The University’s operations represents its most direct contribution to the area economy by employing nearly 7,500 people, which includes staff, faculty, postdoctoral and graduate students. Interestingly, 47% of their employees reside in South Bend and an additional 29% within the three-county region, 22% outside Indiana and 2% in other Indiana counties.

Half of the University’s $1.2 billion annual operating budget is earmarked for employee compensation and benefits, however, the wages earned by employees is a significant contributor to local spending.

While the University of Notre Dame is the largest employer in South Bend, it also serves as a major talent attractor. It retains a higher proportion of alumni than the proportion of students it brings in. Of the nearly 135,000 active alumni members, approximately 5,000 live in the region, 3,700 of which are currently employed, and contributing $76 million in aggregate wage premiums. Wage premium is defined as high-earning-potential individuals who circulate their household earnings into the local and state economy.

Notre Dame’s commitment and emphasis on research continues to grow exponentially. Innovation ecosystems like Innovation Park and the IDEA Center on campus, in addition to South Bend’s Ignition Park and Renaissance District, and other private-public partnerships are strengthening the University’s research footprint. External research funding grew to $138 million in fiscal year 2017, up $4 million from the previous high in 2015.

The IDEA Center’s Commercialization Engine Group, serving as a resource for researchers and faculty to advance their work in the marketplace, has seen 1,000 invention disclosures received by the University, 220 patents issued and 120 licenses executed. This has resulted in 46 startups.

In addition, the University is a major buyer of local goods and services, which has an indirect ripple effect on the regional economy. Notre Dame spent approximately $781 million in buying goods and services; 9% in South Bend ($73 million) and 16% regionally. The University’s relationships with diversity suppliers continues to grow, showing $43 million sourced from minority, women, veteran-owned or small business certified vendors.


Capital Investments

The University outlays a notable amount in capital investment to strengthen its infrastructure and enhance quality of place for students, staff, faculty and the community. On average, the annual statewide impact from capital investments by Notre Dame is $478 million, supporting 3,100 jobs. The approximate $400 million Campus Crossroads, which received the Chamber’s 2018 Economic Impact award, is the largest capital investment project in the University’s history, with more than 800,000 square feet of classroom, research, student life and, event and hospitality space across three new buildings surrounding Notre Dame Stadium.

From fiscal 2015 through 2017, the University embarked on major construction and renovation projects, totaling more than $800 million, averaging about $271 million per year. Direct capital investments create construction jobs and support local construction companies and their suppliers, all of which generates tax revenue for South Bend and the state.


Student & Visitor Spending

Notre Dame attracts students and visitors from around the world into the South Bend Region. “Visitors” include admitted students, prospective students, individuals visiting students, as well as those attending athletic, alumni, cultural and campus events. The economic impact is $92.8 million from student and visitor spending for prospective and admitted student activities, as well as annual events, including move-in, move-out, Junior Parents’ Weekend and Commencement.

While some of the spending may take place on campus, a large portion takes place in the city and neighborhoods surrounding the campus; this is known as ancillary spending. Additional economic impact is realized by those visiting the University for athletic, alumni, educational and cultural events. In aggregate, the regional economic impact of ancillary spending of these individuals is estimated to be $256 million in total output, supporting nearly 2,500 jobs. Event participant spending produces $6.1 million in tax revenues for the state. And, Notre Dame football game visitors alone generate $185 million per year in economic impact within the region; $26.4 million per home game.

To view the full report, visit