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Economic Impact Report

The Art of Making Waves


A closer look at UC San Diego reveals that we don’t just ride waves, we make them. We’re constantly striving to improve our communities with exceptional educational opportunities, a collaborative and cross-disciplinary culture, and transformative public service. Our efforts combine to create a major economic engine for San Diego—and a force for good around the planet.

75,000 Minds. No Limits.

Through curiosity and collaboration, our students, staff, and faculty are redefining conventional wisdom to make a better world.

  • #1

    Top public university in the nation for contributions to social mobility, research and public service.

    Featured in: Washington Monthly
  • TOP

    Public university in the nation for our high graduation rates, strong job placement, and low student debt

  • 2ND

    Best school in the nation for gaining a quality education at an affordable price

    Featured in: Money Magazine
  • 38,798

    Total student enrollment (fall 2018)

  • 74,071

    Jobs supported by UC San Diego throughout San Diego County—nearly twice the capacity of Petco Park

$16.5 BIL

Annual economic impact in California—more than the entire annual revenue of Arizona


A powerhouse in education, research, health care, and community involvement, UC San Diego plays a vital role in the fiscal health of the region. Our economic impact drives employment and government revenue not just locally, but throughout California.


Total outpatient visits (2018)


UC San Diego Health is the region’s only academic health system, including both the UC San Diego School of Medicine and the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. We’re also home to one of only two Level 1 adult trauma centers in the area and the county’s only regional burn center—putting us in a unique position to nurture the physical and economic well-being of our entire region.

$1.2 BIL

Research portfolio, making us 7th in the nation for sponsored research (National Science Foundation)


For nearly 60 years, breakthrough research and innovation have been at our core. And, in just the last five years, our research has helped launch 100 licensed start-ups in health care and engineering—providing hundreds of jobs and fueling acquisitions by tech giants like Cisco and Apple. It’s no wonder many call us the Silicon Valley of SoCal.


Teachers and school administrators assisted in preparing students for college and new career pathways through more than 120 Extension programs annually


We believe students from all economic backgrounds should have access to a world-class education. Because access is the foundation for true impact—from jobs to revenue to the environment. It’s why we provide lifelong learning opportunities through The Preuss School, serving first-generation students bound for greatness; and through UC San Diego Extension, serving 137,000 learners annually.

$18.8 BIL

Projected annual economic impact for the state of California by 2023


With our roots as an experimental university, we’ve always had one eye focused on making groundbreaking discoveries that impact the present, and the other firmly fixed on the future. Looking ahead, we know the impact our university makes will pay very real economic dividends in years to come.

Additional Resources

UC San Diego’s advancements in science, engineering, the arts, humanities, and more are hard to miss. Explore how we’re improving lives locally, nationally—even globally—in the Economic Impact 2019 brochure.