Here are three major industries that operate in the greater Washington area. Pick the one with the biggest economic impact:

1) Hospitality industry

2) Educational and health services

3) More than 2,500 membership associations

The answer is the 14 colleges and universities that make up the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area and health services.

In fact, the schools are the District’s largest private employer, according to a new report about the impact of the schools on the economies of Washington D.C. and the greater metropolitan area. The schools’ total contribution to the Washington area’s gross regional product totaled $11.2 billion in 2010, or 2.8 percent of the total GRP.

The schools in the consortium are:

American University

The Catholic University of America

The Corcoran College of Art and Design

Gallaudet University

Georgetown University

George Mason University

The George Washington University

Howard University

Marymount University

National Defense Intelligence College

National Defense University

Trinity Washington University

University of the District of Columbia

University of Maryland, College Park

The study, entitled “ Capital Assets: Economic Impact and Beyond ,” was done by Stephen S. Fuller, faculty chair and university professor at George Mason University’s School of Public Policy and director of the Center for Regional Analysis.

The report’s conclusions include:

*Consortium schools have a total of 68,117 jobs and school spending supports 124,895 additional jobs

*Total payroll expenditures amount to $3 billion

*For each $1 spent by Consortium members, the Washington Metropolitan area economy grew by a total of $2.02. In the District every $1 dollar spent by a D.C. university resulted in an additional $1.40 in the city’s economy.

*College students provide more than 600,000 hours of public service annually. According to an hourly rate estimate provided by the national nonprofit Independent Sector, the overall value of the students’ service tops $18.9 million a year.

*In addition to general community service, the six law schools in the D.C. region operate 61 clinics serving more than 1,000 low-income and underrepresented clients. Additional students are working in other nonprofits to serve low income residents.

*306,670 out-of-town visitors are attracted to the region’s campuses

*63 percent of students who attend these schools come from outside the region; in the District, 90 percent of the students attending consortium schools moved here

There are three industries with a bigger economic impact in the region:

1) Professional and business services

2) Federal government

3) Trade, Transportation, Utilities


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