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Penn State Economic Impact Study Shows W-B Campus Contributes More Than $49M

12/3/2004 —

A new economic impact study released this week positions Penn State as the single largest contributor to the state’s economy – an engine of 24 campuses generating $6.14 billion annually in direct net economic impact to the commonwealth.

Penn State Wilkes-Barre is a major cog in that engine, with a total impact of more than $49 million alone. In addition, the campus contributes significantly to Penn State’s total business volume impact of nearly $330 million in surrounding Bradford, Luzerne, Lycoming, Sullivan, Tioga and Wyoming Counties.

Overall, the University also influences an additional $6.9 billion indirectly each year through business services, research commercialization and the activities of alumni – for a total of more than $13 billion in annual economic impact in Pennsylvania.

The purpose of the study, conducted by Tripp Umbach & Associates and commissioned by Penn State, was to analyze a number of economic factors spurred by the University and gauge the value of the institution to the commonwealth. Among the factors considered were government revenue, the impact of students, employees and alumni, and research.

“Penn State’s annual economic impact of more than $6 billion represents the single largest institutional economic impact that Tripp Umbach has calculated after more than 15 years and hundreds of studies,” said Paul Umbach, president of Tripp Umbach. “While it is typical that an organization’s economic impact on its home state is roughly equivalent to its annual operating budget, Penn State’s impact is nearly three times larger, due in part to more than a half a billion in tourism generation and more than a billion in economic impact associated with out of state dollars attracted for research activities.

Based on the study’s findings, Penn State is driving approximately 2 percent of the state’s overall business volume – or $1 out of every $50 in the Pennsylvania economy. The University pumps more into the economy than other leading statewide economic entities such as airport hubs ($3.6 billion in annual impact), professional sports teams ($1 billion) and arts and cultural organizations ($600 million) combined.

Spending by out-of-state visitors alone totaled $632.7 million last year, including $6.5 million at Penn State Wilkes-Barre. Combined with spending by students ($717.7 million), employees ($522.4 million), and the University for capital improvements, goods and services ($796.3 million), Penn State drives nearly $2.67 billion in business volume into the state’s economy, with $21.4 million of that total coming from the Lehman campus.

Tax revenue coming from Penn State alone more than repays the amount of appropriation received by the University each year. In 2003, tax revenue generated $492 million for the commonwealth. Government revenue driven by Penn State included $291.1 million – $3.4 million at the Wilkes-Barre campus – as a result of its operations and payroll taxes and $201.5 million in impacts induced by alumni and businesses who benefit from Penn State research.

In sum, the University returned $1.56 in tax revenue for every $1 it received in state appropriation.

People are the driving force behind much of the University’s statewide economic impact. In terms of employment, Penn State is the state’s largest non-governmental employer. As of 2003, Penn State Wilkes-Barre had a total employment impact of 400 jobs.

To download a full summary of the economic impact study and obtain facts on the methodology used and other information, go to http://www.psu.edu/ur/topics/economic_impact/ .

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