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Local Contributions

Princeton University is committed to ensuring the success of the greater Princeton community, and contributes greatly to the overall economic growth of New Jersey and quality of life in the region. The University’s Office of Community and Regional Affairs serves to manage important University/community relationships and to collaborate with regional and local governments and public and private organizations on University issues.

Regional Economic Impact

With approximately 6,323 benefits-eligible employees, Princeton University is one of the largest private employers in central New Jersey. The institution’s overall regional economic impact amounts to approximately $2 billion. This is based on the University’s total expenditures in 2013-14 of approximately $1.58 billion (including $80 million for the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, or PPPL), along with the expenditures of close to 790,000 people attending events throughout the year on campus, and the expenditures of the thousands of students and employees. Included in these statistics is the $25 million economic impact of the nationally acclaimed McCarter Theatre Center, whose facility is owned by the University (McCarter programming drew approximately 150,000 visitors last year, with an operating budget of $11.3 million and approximately 160 full and part-time employees).

The University strives to purchase goods and services in New Jersey as much as possible. Approximately 43 percent of the $318.1 million spent on capital construction and major maintenance in 2013-14 went to New Jersey firms, and approximately 25 percent of the $263.1 million spent on nonconstruction purchases in 2013-14 went to New Jersey firms.

The University continues to play an important role in attracting prestigious international corporations to central New Jersey, particularly to the University-developed Forrestal Center properties in Plainsboro and South Brunswick. These lands feature premier office, retail and residential space as well as academic space, with an approximate assessed valuation of $1.4 billion in Plainsboro and South Brunswick.

In addition, the University has helped spur the high-tech alley on U.S. Route 1 by helping to create hundreds of new jobs through research and development. For example, in the past decade the University’s interdisciplinary research centers, including the Princeton Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials (PRISM), have formed research and development partnerships with approximately 300 New Jersey-based companies (including nearly 100 startups) and entrepreneurs in a wide array of fields, ranging from environmental monitoring to pharmaceuticals, energy, security and nanotechnology.

Princeton is committing substantial resources to further advance its engineering research programs, including investments in specialized laboratory spaces that are open for use by industrial partners. The strategic plan for the School of Engineering and Applied Science places a high priority on engagement and collaboration with industry, including the venture and investment communities.

According to the Moody’s Investor Service Municipal Credit Research report, the University’s positive effect on the local economy and stability of its presence is the dominant factor in the Triple A bond rating for the Municipality of Princeton and the Princeton Public Schools.

By the Numbers

  • Total expenditures: $1.58 billion
  • Total payroll: $570 million
  • New Jersey state income taxes paid by University employees: $22.5 million
  • Construction spending and major maintenance: $318.1 million; in the past decade, spending has been more than $2 billion
  • Campus visitors estimated total: 784,000, including top attractions: athletic events, 260,000; the McCarter Theatre Center, 150,000; the University Art Museum, 130,000; other concerts and performances, 70,000; Orange Key tours, 45,000

Financial Contributions

Property Tax Payments. The University owns approximately 2,500 acres for commercial and academic use in several central New Jersey municipalities, with significant holdings in the Municipality of Princeton, West Windsor Township, Plainsboro Township and South Brunswick Township. Most of the academic properties are located in the Municipality of Princeton, which serves as host to the University’s main campus (500 acres). The chart below includes property and sewer tax paid.

Total local taxes paid: approximately $10.8 million

  Amount %
Municipality of Princeton $10.1 million 93
Other $750,000 7

The University is the largest taxpayer in the Municipality of Princeton. In total, the University pays 5.8 percent of total property tax receipts in the community (more than 8 times the amount paid by the next largest taxpayer in the municipality).

Voluntary Property Tax Payments. The total annual tax payment made to the Municipality of Princeton includes taxes paid on housing for faculty, staff (including the official residence of the University president) and graduate students. The University policy is to leave all nondormitory student housing on the tax rolls, and to remove a nonresidential building from the tax rolls only when 100 percent of the building is to be used for educational purposes. These are voluntary gestures, as state law exempts colleges and universities from paying taxes on housing and any portion of a building used for academic purposes.

Voluntary Cash Contributions to Municipality. In addition to annual tax payments made to the local municipalities, Princeton University makes an annual nontax voluntary contribution to the Municipality of Princeton. In calendar year 2014, the voluntary nontax contribution to the Municipality of Princeton is $2.475 million.

Payments for Infrastructure and Publicly Used Facilities. During the past decade, more than $2.5 million has been spent on crosswalk and road improvements for the benefit of the public. The University annually spends hundreds of thousands of dollars for the maintenance of University-owned but publicly used facilities such as the McCarter Theatre Center, an internationally renowned, Tony-award-winning regional arts facility; the Princeton Garden Theatre, the town’s only movie theater; and the upkeep of the Princeton train station, home to the “Dinky” shuttle train.

Affordable Housing Contributions. The University is proud to partner with the Municipality of Princeton to provide significant funding for the construction and renovation of affordable housing in the community. In the past decade, the University’s contributions to affordable housing have totaled more than $2 million. Additionally, in this same period, the University has created 25 unites of affordable housing that are available to the general public on Leigh Avenue, Bayard Lane and in phase one of Merwick Stanworth.

Support and Special Gifts. The University has contributed more than $10 million in special gifts to municipalities and community organizations over the past decade.