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Study documents Penn State Fayette’s contributions to Pa. economy

4/24/2009 —

Penn State’s impact extends well beyond its teaching and research. In fact, Penn State is Pennsylvania’s largest economic engine, generating more than $17 billion a year in overall economic impact and supporting more than 67,000 jobs. Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus, was responsible for nearly $79.5 million of that amount, and accounts for more than 370 jobs in the region.

In an independent report released April 23, data show that Penn State not only is fueling the growth of Pennsylvania by directly generating nearly $8.5 billion in economic impact but also influences an additional $8.7 billion through business services, research commercialization and the activities of alumni.

On the local level, the Fayette campus infused $45.9 million into the Fayette County economy, $27 million of that in direct business volume.

“The figures this study reports demonstrate not only the impact Penn State has as a whole on the state economy, but also the significant economic impact Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus, has on Fayette County and southwestern Pennsylvania as a region,” Penn State Fayette Chancellor Emmanuel I. Osagie said. “We consider our campus to be an important community partner—not just an academic institution serving the region—and this study highlights many of our economic contributions.”

According to the study conducted by Pittsburgh-based Tripp Umbach Inc., in 2008 Penn State Fayette spent nearly $2.5 million for capital improvements, goods and services, and supplies; spending that went into Pennsylvania’s economy, in part through local contractors and vendors.

“In addition to campus spending on improvements, goods and services, our direct payroll is a significant benefit to the local economy,” Osagie said. The study shows, adjusting for out-of-state employees, savings and taxes, Penn State Fayette employees received a total of $4.6 million in their payroll checks. “Faculty and staff at Penn State Fayette are among the highest paid individuals in Fayette County,” Osagie added.

Student and out-of-state visitor spending also contribute to the vitality of the region.

“Because Penn State Fayette students all live off campus, their spending for housing, food, transportation and entertainment is spent directly in the local economy,” Osagie explained. “The study reports that in 2008 Penn State Fayette students pumped nearly $19.4 million into the economy.”

Visitors also come to Penn State Fayette from out-of-state to attend cultural or sporting events, conferences on campus, and to visit students and employees. “When they do, they spend money in the area for a variety of things, including accommodations, meals, gifts and other services,” Osagie said. The study puts spending by out-of-state visitors to the Fayette campus at $8.2 million.
“This study is a testament to Penn State Fayette’s commitment as a strong partner in this region, working to not only provide a top-notch education for residents of Fayette County and the region, but also to boost the economy of Fayette County and southwestern Pennsylvania,” Osagie added.

Penn State contributes in a variety of ways to the vitality of Pennsylvania’s economy. According to the report, the University generated more than 2 percent of the state’s business volume or more than $1 out of every $50 dollars in the state’s total economy. In addition, Penn State leverages its state funding. For every dollar invested in 2008 by the Commonwealth to support the operations of Penn State, the University returned $25.06 in economic impact to Pennsylvania.

The four-month study by Pittsburgh-based Tripp Umbach indicates that Penn State’s impact far outweighs other industries in the state. With the total direct, indirect and induced annual economic impact equaling more than $17 billion, the University currently creates more impact than the combined total impact of all of the state’s airport hubs, professional sports teams, and arts and cultural organizations, by attracting nearly 1 million visitors and channeling more than $1.73 billion annually into Pennsylvania’s economy.

Additional key findings in the 2009 Tripp Umbach report include:

  • The University annually expends more than $700 million through its research activities. Research at Penn State supports more than 18,000 additional jobs in Pennsylvania, which generates more than $1.9 billion in additional economic impact and more than $61 million in additional revenue for the Commonwealth annually.
  • Penn State Fayette played a large role in the amount of money spent by Penn State in Fayette, Greene and Washington counties, which amounted to $53.9 million. The total business volume impact of Penn State University in Fayette County was slightly more than $47.2 million.
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