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SHSU Makes Local, Regional Economic Impact

Oct. 4, 2013
SHSU Media Contact: Julia May

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Sam Houston State University is making an economic impact at both local and regional levels, according to a new economic impact study authored by SHSU economic professors, Ed Blackburne and Bill Green.

The results of the study were presented to university, city and county officials on Oct. 3.

“At Sam Houston State University, we are always working to provide value to the region and the State of Texas by educating future generations, conducting research that adds to productivity, and offering many other opportunities that will benefit our area,” said SHSU President Dana Gibson. “These benefits create a solid foundation for local and regional economies.

“As the new study indicates, SHSU is committed to making a reliable, consistent and positive contribution to the economic betterment of the communities we serve and delivering a highly educated workforce at an affordable cost,” she said.

During the 2012 fiscal year, direct spending of $250 million by the university, its employees, students and visitors, as well as indirect spending by recipients of the original expenditures, contributed $290 million in local economic impact and $570 million to the region, according to the study. Translated another way, one dollar of every six generated in Walker County is supported by Sam Houston State.

The university supported an estimated 4,567 jobs directly and indirectly in Walker County, and 6,008 jobs regionally. More than one in six jobs in the local economy are attributable to SHSU.
Total personal income generated locally was $117.4 million and $520.8 million for the region.

For every one dollar in state funding appropriated to SHSU, 68 cents in tax revenue is returned to state and local governments. Although SHSU is a tax-exempt public educational institution, its employees and others with whom business is conducted pay taxes to local taxing authorities to support public sector activities such as schools, fire and police protection, sanitation and water quality. The total local tax revenue attributable to the university was $21.2 million and $32.4 million at a regional level.

Local businesses benefit from student spending—over $33.9 million was spent on housing and another $20.7 million on food services and drinking places.

In addition to making a direct economic contribution, Sam Houston State University is preparing students for the workplace. The university was ranked second out of 38 public universities for placing 71 percent of students in the Texas workforce within 12 months of graduation. Affordableonline.org recently ranked SHSU as a low-cost college with high starting salaries per graduate.

Green explained that providing information about an institution’s economic impact was not only important to the region, but to policymakers as well.

“The primary purpose of a university is to offer opportunities for individuals to receive an education,” he said. “When an institution receives resources, either from public funds or private funds, the institution is responsible for letting those investors know what sort of return they are getting.

“It’s not always easy to measure the longer-term educational impact of a university,” he said. “However, it’s much easier to put hard numbers in the short term on the economic impact.”

Green also pointed out that SHSU contributes to the area in more ways than those that can be measured.

“Besides the talented faculty, staff and students who are a part of the community and contribute to the quality of life, the region benefits from many cultural attractions that would not be available if the university were not located here,” he said. “Among those are theatre, musical and athletic events, as well as the resources we provide such as the campus library and expertise across the disciplines.”


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