In fiscal year 2021, Washington University in St. Louis directly contributed $2.9 billion to the St. Louis economy and  supported more than 47,000 jobs in the St. Louis region.

At Washington University in St. Louis, we are proud to be part of the Greater St. Louis region. As we have grown as a global leader in teaching, research and patient care, we have strengthened our local economy, adding jobs, expanding our network of health care providers and facilities, and supporting local businesses, schools and community organizations.

In 2021, Washington University supported more than 47,000 jobs in the St. Louis region and directly contributed $2.9 billion to the local economy and attracted $879 million from outside the region in research funding.

St. Louis has given Washington University much in return. Our faculty, staff and students enjoy all St. Louis has to offer — a thriving startup scene, historic neighborhoods, leading cultural institutions and, of course, St. Louis Cardinals baseball. And just as St. Louis makes Washington University stronger, we are committed to making St. Louis stronger, too.

FY21 ECONOMIC IMPACT ON THE REGION


How the university and the community continue to grow together

Employment

Washington University is the second-largest employer in the region.

At Washington University, our diverse and talented workforce drives our collective success. Now the region’s second-largest employer, we support our employees through training programs and career coaching, access to the region’s top healthcare providers and wellness programs, unique benefits like forgivable home loans and free Metro passes, and a host of family-friendly initiatives from caregiver leave to tuition assistance. In addition, Washington University has increased its minimum hourly wage to $15 per hour for regular employees and basic service contractors. Our investment in our 17,300 employees is an investment in the region.

Health care 

School of Medicine physicians serve on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 1,700 primary care and specialist physicians of the School of Medicine have redoubled their efforts to provide exceptional patient care to all. Our Washington University faculty physicians serve as the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish Hospital and St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Located on the Washington University Medical Campus, both are nationally ranked, world-class teaching hospitals with a strong network of in- and outpatient health care services. Also on the medical campus, the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine is an international leader in cancer research, treatment, prevention and community outreach. Siteman is the only cancer center in Missouri to hold the National Cancer Institute‘s Comprehensive Cancer Center designation. In addition, our faculty care for patients at dozens of additional locations throughout the St. Louis region as well. We invest in education and research to improve clinical care and create better outcomes for patients and better health for the community.

Racial equity

Sean Joe, professor at the Brown School, launched HomeGrown STL to improve the social mobility of the region’s 60,000 black boys and young men.

Washington University’s world-class faculty are working in partnership with local organizations to address systemic racism and its toll on our Black communities. Leading efforts include Health Equity Works, which provides local school districts and nonprofits with data-driven resources, tools and solutions to advance health, housing and economic equity; The Race and Opportunity Lab, which focuses on supporting young black males in the region; and The Divided City, an urban humanities initiative devoted to investigating and countering the impact of segregation in St. Louis. In addition, the School of Medicine has programs devoted to studying and addressing persistent disparities in health outcomes and treatment.

College access

College Prep students learn from top faculty over the course of three summers.

Washington University is committed to expanding college access for low-income and first-generation students. In 2021 Washington University made a bold $1 billion investment in student success. The initiative, called the Gateway to Success, includes a $800 million in endowed funding to support need-blind undergraduate admissions — long a top goal for the university. As a need-blind institution, the university will not consider an applicant’s financial situation when making admissions decisions while still meeting 100% of demonstrated financial need for admitted undergraduates. An additional $200 million will be designated for financial aid for graduate and professional students in the Brown School, the School of Law and the School of Medicine, as well as in business, engineering, art and architecture, and Arts & Sciences. 

Meanwhile, Washington University is proud of the continued success of the WashU Pledge, which provides a free undergraduate education to admitted, full-time Missouri and southern Illinois students who are Pell Grant-eligible or who are from families with annual incomes of $75,000 or less. 

Other innovative programs include the College Prep Program which invites talented local students to live and learn on campus; the Olin Fleischer Scholars Program for students interested in business and entrepreneurship, and The Young Scientist Program and Saturday Scholars Program for students interested in STEM careers

Construction and purchasing

In 2021, Washington University spent some $180 million in construction.

Washington University is a leading purchaser of local goods and a top consumer of the building trades. The recently completed Transformation of the East End of the Danforth Campus employed hundreds of construction workers. And the work continues at the neuroscience research building at the School of Medicine. Approximately one-fourth of construction projects are awarded to women and minority businesses through the university’s invigorated Supplier Diversity Initiative, which also offers coaching and free business courses.

Civic engagement

Washington University partnered with Park Central Development and St. Louis Food Angels to deliver groceries to nearby families.

Washington University is committed to strengthening our thriving neighborhoods through investments in public infrastructure, mixed-income housing development and direct support of frontline community development organizations. It also has stepped up to bolster the local economy and advance racial equity efforts through its support of the Regional Response Fund, the Gateway Resiliency Fund, the Racial Healing + Justice Fund and Invest STL. 

Research and innovation

Cofactor Genomics in Cortex

Washington University researchers have attracted millions in research dollars to conduct groundbreaking studies in COVID-19, climate change, cancer and other urgent challenges. Washington University also is both a founding benefactor and beneficiary of the Cortex Innovation Community, a bioscience and technology hub. The district is host to seven Fortune 500 Companies, has generated 5,800 jobs and spurred $34 million in tax revenue. 

Student service

Alex Hu, AB ’20, leads a free chemistry tutoring session.

Washington University students are serving local schools, hospitals, public health departments and other nonprofits across the region. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, students launched organizations to deliver food to at-risk community members, tutor children and provide contact tracing. In addition, the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement connects students to St. Louis through numerous initiatives including the Goldman Fellows Program and community-engaged courses.