The state’s colleges are economic engines for small town Oklahoma, a new study shows.
The State Chamber Research Foundation has released a study showing the economic effect on local economies sparked by the annual state appropriations to Oklahoma’s 29 universities and colleges.
The study shows a multiplier effect on average of $9.40 in economic impact for every dollar budgeted to the higher education system. Some of the larger universities and colleges saw an even higher multiplier effect.
When it came to two-year colleges, Tulsa Community College led the pack — impacting the city by more than $251 million or a ratio of $7.80 in economic output for every state dollar budgeted. The four-campus college has some 3,300 employees.
Oklahoma City Community College was second with $145.3 million in economic output, resulting in $6.60 in impact for every dollar appropriated. The average for two-year colleges was $7.10.
The state appropriated $12.3 million to Rogers State University in Claremore, and RSU’s economic impact within that community was the equivalent of $93.4 million, $7.60 for every dollar the state appropriated to the university.
“We have long known that RSU is an economic development engine for the communities we serve,” RSU President Larry Rice said.
He pointed out that his university brings thousands of commuter students into the communities served by RSU and that nearly 800 students live on the Claremore campus.
Those students make local purchases at mom-and-pop stores and eat in area restaurants, buy gas locally and participate in a number of activities that support the Claremore economy. Rogers State is Claremore’s third-largest employer, after Baker Hughes and Claremore Public Schools.
Of the 11 regional universities, Rogers State came in eighth in economic impact upon the local community. But Rice is quick to point out that Rogers State is fourth overall in the ratio of economic impact per appropriated dollar among the state’s regional universities.
The University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond topped the list with a $685 million impact on the community and a ratio of $14.80 for every $1 appropriated.
Northeastern State University in Tahlequah was second, with a $197.5 million impact on its host community, breaking down to a multiplier of $6 for every dollar budgeted by the state.
“It’s due to a lot of things adding up,” said Ben Hardcastle, vice president for university relations at NSU. “Almost all of our staff and faculty live here, and we have a lot of events that bring more money to the local economy.”
Oklahoma State University’s Tulsa campus had an annual economic impact on the city of $42 million, while the University of Oklahoma’s Tulsa campus had an annual impact on the city of $28 million.
OSU Institute of Technology at Okmulgee has had an $88 million annual economic impact on that community, while Stillwater has enjoyed the benefits of an annual $1.75 billion impact by having Oklahoma State located in the town of 45,000. The University of Oklahoma’s economic impact on Norman is roughly $1.83 billion a year.
One of the highlights of the study is the University of Oklahoma’s Health Science Center in Oklahoma City, which topped all institutions of higher education, with a $1.85 billion economic impact and direct or indirect support of 10,700 jobs.
Of the state’s 226,000 students, some 65,000 are enrolled in the state’s regional universities and 95,000 are enrolled in the state’s two-year colleges.