The Springfield campus of the University of Illinois has a big dollar sign attached to its regional value. A recent Economic Impact Study by EMSI calculates that in the fiscal year 2013-14 alone, UIS had an overall economic impact of $176.7M on its community.
“[The study provides] a rich source of data that demonstrates the very real economic value of UIS in Springfield,” writes UIS chancellor Susan Koch, noting that the study also confirms Richard Florida’s conviction that “the presence of a thriving university, a key institution of the ‘creative economy,’ is a necessary condition for prosperity.”
EMSI’s analysis proves the University of Illinois Springfield to be anything if not thriving.
The university’s total economic impact of $176.7M can be broken down to the university operations effect ($75.3M), the student spending effect ($5.9M), and the alumni productivity effect ($95.5M). The study also details the return on investment for student, society, and taxpayers, demonstrating that a UIS degree is one of the best investments that any of them can make.
The university operations effect of $75.3M shows UIS to be a significant employer in Sangamon County, employing 1,129 faculty and staff (payroll of $67.1M, a good portion of which is spent regionally) and spending $31.1M. Notably, the student spending effect of $5.9M considers the income generated by only the 20% of UIS students who relocated to Sangamon County to attend the university, which means that the rest of the 6,374 unique students attending UIS in the 12-month study period generated income not captured by the study.
But by far the university’s heftiest contribution is the education it provides. The study shows that the $95.5M generated by UIS alumni remaining in the region (who account for almost 30% of the county’s college-educated workforce) represents the higher wages they earned, the increased output of businesses they served, and the multiplier effects rippling out as they and their employers spent money in the region during the study year.
Then there’s the return on investment for key stakeholder groups. The EIS demonstrates that with wages on the rise throughout their careers, alumni can look back on their degree as one of the wisest investments they could have made.
But the benefits don’t stop with them. The entire state gains from the presence of the university. The study shows that for every $1 spent to support UIS, taxpayers gain $3.50 in added taxes and public sector savings, while society as a whole gains $3.90 in added state income and social savings.