SHSU’s Economic Impact Produces $2.4 Billion In Income
April 12, 2022
SHSU Media Contact: Emily Binetti
Sam Houston State University creates value in many ways. In fact, according to a new economic impact study for fiscal year 2019-2020, SHSU added $2.4 billion in income to the Texas economy, the equivalent to supporting 30,788 jobs.
The study, conducted by the labor market data company Emsi, analyzed the impact of operations, research, construction, visitor and student spending, together with the enhanced productivity of its alumni, in Walker County, Montgomery County and the state.
To fully measure SHSU’s value, the report evaluated the university from the perspectives of economic impact and investment return for students, taxpayers and society.
Economic Impact: Walker County
With the SHSU main campus located in Walker County, the university added $335.8 million in income to the local economy, which is equivalent to approximately 15 percent of the county’s total gross regional product. When expressed in terms of jobs, SHSU’s total economic impact supported 6,090 county jobs. This means that one out of every 6 jobs in Walker County is supported by the activities of SHSU and its students.
As a major employer of county residents and a large-scale buyer of goods and services, SHSU’s operational spending accounted for 63.5 percent of the total economic impact. In FY 2019-20, the university employed 2,732 full-time and part-time faculty and staff. Total payroll was $200.7 million, much of which was spent in the county for groceries, mortgage and rent payments, dining out and other household expenses. In addition, the university spent $159.5 million on day-to-day expenses related to facilities, supplies and professional services.
Close to 96 percent of SHSU students originated outside the county. While enrolled, these students spent money on groceries, accommodation, transportation and other household expenses. This spending generated $61.8 million in added income for the county economy in FY 2019-20, which supported 1,708 jobs in Walker County.
Economic Impact: Montgomery County
The two SHSU campuses located in Montgomery County are the College of Osteopathic Medicine and SHSU – The Woodlands Center. Additionally, many employees, alumni and students live and work in the county. SHSU’s total economic impact added $217.3 million in income to the Montgomery County economy during the analysis year. SHSU alumni employed in Montgomery County account for a large part of the total economic impact, helping generate $58.7 million in added income for the county, which is equivalent to supporting 821 jobs.
Investment Analysis: Statewide
The second component of the study measured the benefits SHSU generates for students, taxpayers and society.
The most obvious beneficiaries are the university’s students. The average bachelor’s degree graduate from SHSU will see an increase in earnings of $29,100 each year compared to a person with a high school diploma or equivalent working in Texas. Expressed another way, for every dollar SHSU students invest in education, they receive a cumulative value of $4.60 in higher future earnings. This objective is backed by high rankings for SHSU, including No. 1 in Texas as a top performer of social mobility by “U.S. News & World Report.”
As graduates earn more, communities and citizens throughout Texas benefit from an enlarged economy and a reduced demand for social services.
The new study indicates that total taxpayer benefits amounted to $393.1 million, compared to $114.5 million of state and local government funding SHSU received in FY 2019-20. This means that for every dollar of public money invested in SHSU in FY 2019-20, taxpayers will receive a cumulative present value of $3.40 over the course of the students’ working lives.
From the perspective of economic impact and investment return, the report shows that SHSU is more than an institution of higher education; it’s an economic engine for the region and beyond.
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