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Report: SHSU Substantially Impacts Local Economy

March 9, 2011
SHSU Media Contact: Julia May

Sam Houston State University “pays its own way” and is a major contributor to the economic vitality of the community, according to a new independent economic and fiscal impact report released by Southwest Business Research of Houston.

“We are proud that as a significant enterprise in its own right and through our mission of education, research, service and community engagement, Sam Houston State University makes a positive impact in the region where we are located,” said SHSU President Dana Gibson.

“Institutions of higher education are uniquely positioned to assist with driving economic development and growth,” she said.

During the 2010 fiscal year, direct spending by the university, its employees, students and visitors, as well as indirect spending by recipients of the original expenditures, accounted for $108.5 million to the City of Huntsville and $111 million to Walker County, according to the study.

The university supported an estimated 3,268 citywide jobs directly and indirectly, and total personal income generated in Huntsville was $100.6 million. This resulted in $3.7 million in local purchases of durable, long-lasting goods such as cars, washers, dryers and air conditioners.

The university generated $1.30 in local public sector revenues for every $1 it cost the city, according to the report. 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 report also estimates that on average, SHSU’s operational activity adds more than $63 million per year to the local bank credit base.

When the geographic scope of the study increased to include Walker and Montgomery Counties, the measures for SHSU increased, as well.

The impact magnitude increases from the City of Huntsville to Walker County were modest since the City of Huntsville comprises much of Walker County’s activity, according to the report.

However, when activity from Montgomery County was added, there was a significant increase.

Business volume rose to $149.4 million, personal income expanded to $124.7 million and the total employment impact from SHSU operational activity increased to 3,798 jobs.

“Economic impact studies are important to institutions because they identify who you are and help you decide which way you want to grow,” said Robert F. Hodgin of Southwest Business Research.

Hodgin also noted that SHSU contributes to the area in more ways than those that can be measured, such as learned skills, research findings, public service functions, social and cultural gains, business attraction effects, and general quality of life improvements.

“Within the model’s scope, the findings estimate and describe the significant impact SHSU has on the local economy and the economies of both Walker and Montgomery Counties. Those impacts are multi-faceted and complex,” he said.

“The values placed upon the measurable items are merely indicators of SHSU’s recognizable and continuing contribution as an educational institution,” he said.

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