FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 1, 2010
Contact: K.E. Schwab
SRU returns $18.60 for every tax dollar invested;
generates $334.4 million in regional income annually
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University consistently urges its graduates to make an impact on the world. The University does an excellent job of making an impact on its own. A new report shows SRU generates $334.4 million in economic impact for the region; a sum equal to creating 9,020 average-wage jobs in the region.
The report, released this week, by Economic Modeling Specialists Inc., an Idaho-based provider of socioeconomic impact and strategic planning tools, documents that for every dollar of state and local tax money invested in the University it returns $18.60 in benefits that accrue to all Pennsylvania residents.
"This independent analysis confirms how vital the University is as an economic engine for the region," said Robert Smith, SRU president.
"We are proud of Slippery Rock University's academic reputation and the impact of our graduates on the region, state, nation and world. This report clearly shows our economic clout is tremendously important as well and directly enhances the quality of life for thousands of people - our friends and neighbors," Smith said.
EMSI's report provides both an economic growth analysis and an investment analysis that compare costs of supporting the University from the perspectives of students, taxpayers and society as a whole. The findings reflect Slippery Rock University's primary service area, which includes northern Allegheny County along with Butler, Beaver, Lawrence and Mercer counties.
Highlights of the nearly 50-page report include:
In total, the University generates $334.4 million in added income in the SRU Service Area, a sum that equals creating 9,020 average-wage jobs.
The SRU service area receives approximately $114.4 million in added income each year due to operations at the University and spending of non-local students and visitors;
SRU's largest local impact stems from the productivity effects of SRU graduates who live and work in the service area. This impact generates $220 million in added annual income for the region.
"The analysis shows that keeping our graduates in the area pays great dividends. Further, taxpayers across the commonwealth should be pleased to learn that their investment in Slippery Rock University provides a 5.5 percent annual rate of return, measured in terms of added tax revenue and avoided costs to the government," Smith said. "Every dollar of state and local tax money invested in SRU yields a multiplier of $18.60 in benefits that accrue to all Pennsylvania residents. We are very proud of those numbers. They show, that in addition to our overall educational value, we are excellent stewards of our financial resources."
SRU visitors, students contribute to regional economy
Taxpayers are not the only investment beneficiaries. The EMSI report found students enjoy a 14.3 percent annual rate of return on their investment of time and money.
"We know that education, particularly a Slippery Rock University education, pays great rewards in terms of employment opportunities. We tell our graduating students they have not only received a quality education they can be proud of, but that their diploma will give them entr�e to opportunities to change the world," Smith said.
Approximately 2,400 students relocate to Butler County to attend SRU. While residing in the county, these students generate an estimated $17.1 million in off-campus expenditures for room and board, transportation and other personal expenses.
SRU keeps educated workers in Butler County. The percentage of students that remain in the county (16.4 percent) is greater than the percentage of students that come from Butler County (14.5 percent). These graduates become taxpaying citizens and spend money at local businesses.
In addition, the University drew more than 311,400 visitors - 60 percent of them from outside Butler County - to various activities and programs. Off-campus visitor spending amounts to approximately $28.2 million in new sales in Butler County each year.
University supports business development
"Our overall mission is to create educated citizens," Smith said. "As part of that process, our work simultaneously and directly encourages new business development, assists existing business and creates long-term economic growth for the entire region. The University enhances worker skills and provides educated workers for local business and industry."
The comprehensive EMSI report included data from the Regional Learning Alliance, an SRU initiative located in Cranberry Woods. EMSI reports the RLA processed 37,568 training session participants and delivered 209,612 person-hours of training last year.
Since its 2004 inception, the RLA has provided more than 1 million people hours of professional development to regional businesses.
The alliance, which is open to businesses throughout the region, focuses on offering customized training that can range from highly technical IT training, software development, forensic security, and programs to improve sales force skills to help companies develop teamwork, leadership and efficiency skills; all centered on a goal of retaining or increasing employment in the region.
Westinghouse officials have cited the RLA as one of the eight reasons it elected to retain its world headquarters in Pennsylvania.
"In addition to the academic classes offered at the Regional Learning Alliance, training and skill development for workers in existing jobs helps promote business productivity and increases income in the SRU service area," Smith said. "The RLA has truly been a factor in helping keep the regional economy growing - and expanding - in these very tough economic times."
SRU creates new income in Butler County
In an overview of SRU's direct impact on Butler County, the EMSI report found the county's annual added income due to the activities of SRU and its students equals $188.4 million - approximately equal to creating 4,300 average-wage jobs in the county.
The University is the county's ninth largest employer. Nearly 50 percent of those employed at SRU live in Butler County and thereby expand the county's tax base. The report's numbers are based on SRU's direct employment of 1,208 faculty, staff and managers, and 2,148 student workers with an annual payroll of $91.9 million, including benefits.
"SRU spends an estimated $54.8 million, or 36 percent, of its total budget, in Butler County, including expenditures of its faculty and staff and the University's purchase of supplies and services," the report said.
"Even with all of the favorable numbers showing economic benefits to the borough, county, region and state, I believe our most important economic numbers are those that benefit students." Smith said.
"In our primary service area, students that graduate with a high school diploma average less than $30,000 in annual income. Those that graduate with a bachelor's degree earn near the $50,000 mark. At the master's level, they earn on average more than $60,000 and at the doctoral level nearly $90,000. Over the course of a work career that is a significant difference," Smith said. "By providing students with a rock-solid education, we are preparing them for opportunities in jobs that will provide a better quality of life. In that process we are simultaneously providing a better quality of life for those whose jobs, businesses and services are part of the University's operation. We are proud of the fact that Slippery Rock University is a good neighbor, a leader in the community and an invaluable asset to the Commonwealth," Smith said.
Report documents may be found at http://www.sru.edu/pages/7054.asp.
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.