Chowan boosts local economy
Published 8:12 pm Monday, June 8, 2015
By J. E. BARKER
MURFREESBORO – A comprehensive study of the economic impact of higher education in North Carolina has found that Chowan University created $23.7 million of added economic value to the Roanoke-Chowan region during the 2012-13 fiscal year, the equivalent of creating 527 new jobs.
“ChowanUniversity is an economic anchor in Murfreesboro and HertfordCounty. Many local businesses exist because of Chowan,” stated Bill Early, Director of the Hertford County Economic Development Commission. “We recognize Chowan’s importance and impact and look for ways to support the needs of the University and its faculty and students.”
Commissioned by the UNC system, the NC Community College system and NC Independent Colleges and Universities, the study conducted by Economic Modeling Specialists International is the first-ever multi-sector analysis of higher education’s impact on the state’s economy. It is one of the most comprehensive reports of its kind ever done for a single state. Issued this February, the results of the study are based on academic and financial reports from Chowan University, industry and employment data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, information from the US Census Bureau and other additional sources.
The results clearly show that Chowan University creates value for the region in many ways. The university improves education delivery throughout the region and helps students increase their employability and achieve their individual potential. By spending money at local vendors and by drawing students and visitors to the Roanoke-Chowan region, the university also generates new dollars and opportunities for the whole area. The benefits of education extend as far as the state and local government in the form of increased tax revenues and reduced government expenditures.
“Chowan’s impact goes beyond the economic benefits, as well, to include the cultural amenities that today’s communities need to thrive,” Early said.
To generate its economic impact, Chowan University spent $11.8 million on payroll and benefits for 249 full-time and part-time employees, and spent another $10.1 million on goods and services to carry out its day-to-day operations. The net impact of the university’s operations spending in the Roanoke-Chowan region during the analysis year was approximately $13.8 million in added regional income, which is equivalent to creating 284 jobs.
During the study year, Chowan also commissioned contractors to build or renovate its facilities on a number of campus projects to generate $348,800 in short-term income and jobs in the regional economy equivalent to another 15 new jobs.
“Chowan is alive, thriving and growing,” Early added. “We look forward to the future of Chowan and are ready partners in continuing the growth of this university and the communities that support the institution, faculty, staff and students.”
Around 82 percent of Chowan students originate from outside the region. As a result of relocating and spending money on groceries, transportation, rent and other expenditures, students added approximately $1.2 million in regional income, or the equivalence of 32 new jobs. Visitors to campus for events like athletics and reunions spent approximately $421,600 at hotels, restaurants, gas stations and other businesses to equal an additional 14 new jobs.
Over the years, Chowan students have gained new skills, making them more productive in the workforce and today, many alumni still live and work in the region. The accumulated contribution of alumni currently employed in the Roanoke-Chowan region’s workforce amounts to $7.9 million in income added to the area, or the equivalence to creating 182 new jobs.
In return for the money students invest to earn their degree, they will receive a present value of $74.7 million in increased earnings over their working lives. This translates to a return of $2.50 in higher future income for every $1 that students invest in their education.
Communities will also benefit from the $38.3 million in present value social savings related to reduced crime, lower unemployment and increased health and well-being across the state. For every $1 that society spent on education at Chowan University, North Carolina communities will receive a cumulative $6.10 in benefits. Savings to the public sector will add another $6.8 million in benefits due to the reduced demand for government-funded services, as well as $17.6 million in added tax revenue from students’ increased incomes and increased business output.
The results of this comprehensive study demonstrate that Chowan University creates value from multiple perspectives. The university benefits the region by increasing consumer spending and supplying a steady flow of knowledgeable workers in to the labor force. It enriches the lives of students by increasing their employability and raising their lifetime incomes. It benefits North Carolina as a whole by creating a more prosperous economy and generating savings through the improved lifestyles of students. Finally, it benefits state and local taxpayers by increasing tax receipts and reducing the demand for government-supported social services.