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Economic report reveals tremendous impact university has on community

November 06, 2008 12:00AM

O n Fr

"
I think business owners realize it more than non-business owners, because they actually see those dollars coming in. If there weren't 7,000 students here, there certainly wouldn't be as many restaurants and trades. "
~ Dr. Howard Smith, assistant to the president
iday, Pittsburg State University President Tom Bryant will tell members of the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce that PSU's local direct economic impact exceeds $190 million this year and continues to grow at a healthy rate. President Bryant will speak at the chamber's First Friday Coffee, which will be held at 7:30 a.m. at the Lamplighter Inn.

Bryant will share a recently completed economic impact study that shows the university's direct economic impact, which includes expenditures by the university, students and visitors, is more than $190 million this year, compared to $157 million in 2002.

The survey, conducted by university analysts, updates a study conducted in 2003 that found each PSU student spent approximately $9,000 per year in the Pittsburg community. This year's study reports that number to have risen to $10,255 per year. That increase, coupled with a record enrollment, means that students alone contribute more than $73 million to the local economy.

"The dollars students spend here, in addition to the dollars the university spends on faculty and staff; that money rolls over into the local community," said Howard Smith, assistant to the president. "I think business owners realize it more than non-business owners, because they actually see those dollars coming in. If there weren't 7,000 students here, there certainly wouldn't be as many restaurants and trades."

Blake Benson, president of the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce, said he witnesses the economic impact of PSU on many fronts.

"From the money spent by students and employees to the community support the university provides, PSU is extremely important to the region," Benson said. "The university's leadership encourages faculty and administration to become engaged in the community. There's no way to put a dollar figure on something like that, but the support has been extremely helpful for organizations like ours."

The university commissioned the economic impact study in order to better assess its role in the economy of Pittsburg and the surrounding area with the intention of using the data to help drive planning and decision-making in the coming years. Interesting statistical highlights emerged, such as:

  • Pittsburg State University has a direct impact of $190,475,064 annually in southeast Kansas and beyond. This is a $5.04 return for every state taxpayer dollar appropriated.
  • When economic development and the effect of college degrees on salaries are added, this impact grows to $768,243,064 annually. This is a $20.33 return for every state taxpayer dollar appropriated.
  • Pittsburg State University enrolled 7,087 students who spent an average of $10,255 each for a total of $73,027,814 in surrounding communities.
  • Pittsburg State University employed 1,744 people with salary and wages totaling $56,540,352.
  • Pittsburg State University's 26,276 graduates living in Kansas generate $563,036,000 in value added annual earnings above what is attributed to their high school education.
  • Pittsburg State University attracted 155,575 visitors who spent an estimated $24,308,593 in surrounding communities.
  • Between since 2005 Pittsburg State University has expended $36,932,494 on construction and renovation of buildings and infrastructure and plans to expend another $25,541,000 by the end of the 2009 fiscal year. Of the funds expended, all projects except one were contracted to firms in Pittsburg State University service region.
  • Pittsburg State University economic development activities through the Business and Technology Institute added $14,732,000 of value to the region. This does not include the many other valuable, but more difficult to measure activities of faculty and staff in the region.
  • While not included in the overall analysis, there were 167 Fort Scott Community College students attending Fort Scott classes on the Pittsburg State University campus who, on average, spent $10,255 in surrounding communities. This means that the Fort Scott Community College students attending classes on the Pittsburg State University spent a total of $1,712,585 in the surrounding area.

For more information on the economic impact study, contact Bob Wilkinson, director of Analysis, Planning and Assessment, at 620-235-4132.

---Pitt State---

©2008 Pittsburg State University