New report shows the economic impact Arkansas State University has on the state

Aug 7, 2014

(Courtesy of Talk Business & Politics.)

A new study shows that Arkansas State University has an economic impact on the state of Arkansas of roughly $1.2 billion.

Recently issued by ASU-Jonesboro Chancellor Dr. Tim Hudson, a study titled The Economic Impact of Arkansas State says ASU’s operations, employees, students and visitors generated an estimated $343 million in economic impact during fiscal 2013. The study was conducted by the school’s Delta Center for Economic Development using an economic impact assessment program called IMPLAN.

ASU placed the impact of its operations at $232 million, the impact of student spending at $68 million, and the impact of visitor spending at $42 million.

“We build a lot of buildings, we buy a lot of products, we’re one of the juggernauts of this whole northeastern part of Arkansas,” Hudson said.

Viewed as an industry, Hudson said ASU is “a big industry, a good industry, paying good wages.”

“If you want to just get down to how you evaluate an industry, it’s a stable industry, it’s a low-impact industry in some ways. We compete for talent all over the United States to fill academic positions,” Hudson said. “We bring people to Jonesboro who wouldn’t otherwise come here, generally very well-educated and interested in education as a way forward.”

The economic impact study also calculated the “productivity effect” of increased lifetime earnings of ASU graduates living in Arkansas at more than $899 million. The study calls the “productivity effect” the most significant annual impact on the state.

Given that workers with a college degree earn much more in their lifetimes than those with a high school diploma, ASU’s productivity effect analysis indicates that the discounted net present value of increased earning benefits over the lifetimes of ASU alumni living in Arkansas is $40.9 billion, which has an annual return of $899 million to the state.

Together, the direct economic impact and the productivity effect ring up a total economic impact of more than $1.2 billion, extending “well beyond the direct financial impact” of the school’s more than 13,500 students and 1,500 full-time faculty and staff, according to the report.

According to the study, the state gets a return of 13.8 times for every dollar spent on a student at A-State. The benefit-cost ratio to each student is 16.4 times their investment in their college education from their increased lifetime earnings, the study indicates.

The state and local tax impact was more than $18 million in fiscal 2013, the study said, plus $33.6 million in federal tax impact.

But Hudson said ASU’s largest long-term impact on the region is the development of human capital and the way in which universities “prepare people to be social and economic leaders for the future.”

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