Investment in KSU yielding high dividends

By Susan Rogers Kent State University Communicatio Published:

Kent State University strengthens Ohio's economy with more than 7,300 jobs and more than $461 million in annual spending by the university and its employees, students and visitors, according to a study released by the Inter-University Council of Ohio.

Using the conservative assumption that these dollars were spent at least once more before leaving Ohio, the study noted that the statewide, economic impact of this spending was actually $923 million _ more than nine times the $100.4 million that the state invested in the university during fiscal 1995-96.

The IUC study, which analyzed financial data provided by Ohio's 15 public universities and medical colleges to determine their individual and collective economic impact, found that Kent and its counterparts directly and indirectly contribute billions of dollars (for example, $6.2 billion in spending in fiscal 1996) and tens of thousands of jobs (more than 123,570 in fiscal 1996) to the state economy each year.

"Ohio's investment in Kent State University is yielding remarkably high dividends. For each dollar we receive in state funding, we generate nearly twice as much in additional funds for our operating expenses," said KSU President Carol Cartwright.

"The study confirms that not only do Kent State University and its counterparts serve as educational, cultural, and recreational resources for the citizens of Ohio, we are a major economic resource for the communities we serve and for the entire state," she said.

KSU's eight-campus system employed 3,853 non-students during the academic year 1995-96 and spent 64 percent of its operating budget on salaries, wages, and benefits in fiscal 1995-96, according to the IUC study.

The university's Kent campus is the largest employer in Portage County.

In addition, estimated in-state purchases of $65.1 million created an estimated 2,605 jobs for Ohioans, with another 894 jobs created as the result of university spending on capital improvements.

KSU employees paid about $6.4 million in state income and sales taxes, and about $2.6 million in city/local income taxes in fiscal year 1996. In addition,university employees pumped $104.9 million in spendable income _ more than KSU's annual state subsidies and appropriations _ into the state and local economies through a variety of payments, purchases and savings transactions during fiscal 1996, the study reported.

The study showed that KSU students are big spenders, too. Students spent an estimated $107.8 million during the 1995-96 academic year for off-campus housing, food, transportation, books, clothing, laundry, insurance, miscellaneous supplies and telephone services.

Another major economic boost can be attributed to the hundreds of thousands of visitors to the university each year. In 1996, an estimated 339,637 people visited KSU for purposes such as attending athletic and cultural events, and participating in conferences, workshops and summer programs. In addition to fees paid directly to the university for programs and events, the study estimated that visitors spent at least $10.8 million in the local economy during their stays.

The IUC economic impact study also found that:

Of $285.2 million in total resources available to KSU during fiscal 1995-96, 35 percent was in the form of state subsidies and appropriations.

In addition to circulating dollars, KSU is successful as a magnet for out-of-state dollars that are critical for the state's economic growth. During fiscal 1995-96, the university attracted more than $15.5 million in public- and private-sector grants and contracts for research and service projects.

With approximately 76,000 alumni residing in Ohio, KSU is a major provider of the state's college-educated workforce. According to the study, "With its combination of quality academic programs and accessibility to a broad range of potential students, Kent State offers affordable excellence to over 29,500 Ohioans annually."

A college graduate earns an average of about $12,000 a year more than a high school graduate _ about half a million dollars more during a lifetime. Using this average, KSU graduates residing in Ohio could add more than $910 million to Ohio's Economy and tax base annually.

KSU is "generating new economic opportunities for Ohio by creating new ideas, innovative technologies and products," the IUC study said, noting that the University's "potential for leading the development of new industry continues to grow as a result of the exciting research at its Glenn H. Brown Liquid Crystal Institute." The IUC report also noted KSU research initiatives that are "helping small businesses develop and survive' helping high school students get a head start on their college degrees; and improving the quality of teaching and learning mathematics for junior and senior high school teachers."

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