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Penn College Generates $482 Million Economic Impact Statewide

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. Pennsylvania College of Technology was responsible for $482.5 million of that amount and nearly 3,600 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.

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.

Penn College, a special mission affiliate of Penn State committed to applied technology education, was third among 24 Penn State campuses in overall impact statewide. Penn College’s total state business-volume impact for 2008 was almost $482.5 million; University Park (more than $4.4 billion) and Hershey Medical Center (nearly $1.6 billion) were higher.

Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour said the Penn State economic-impact statement is evidence that the institution is fulfilling its mission to serve the residents of the Commonwealth.

“Serving our local community and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is at the heart of all we do at Penn College,” Gilmour said. “There is no doubt that our students, alumni, faculty and staff impact the community, not only through the dollars they spend, but also through the wealth of their personal and professional experiences. A successful college enriches its environment.”

The survey’s business-volume figures include direct and indirect spending, such as capital improvements; purchased goods, services and supplies; employee spending generated by payroll and benefits; off-campus spending by students and visitors; and the impact of all these expenditures on Pennsylvania businesses, which recirculate the dollars throughout the economy in support of the Commonwealth.

In 2008, the study said, Penn College’s direct impact was nearly $210 million and indirect impact was another $273 million. Penn State’s total direct impact (all 24 campuses) was nearly $3.7 billion, and indirect impact was another $4.8 billion.

For Penn College, off-campus spending by students topped the list of direct spending. The study concluded that Penn College students spent $100 million off campus in 2008. Students who lived off campus spent for housing and food; all students spent for supplies, entertainment, other items and services.

Spending by college visitors was second in terms of direct impact. Visitors to Penn College spent a little more than $51 million in 2008 for accommodations, gifts, other items and services. The survey noted that colleges are attractive destinations that influence tourism (the state’s second-largest industry). Visitors include friends and family who visit college students and employees, as well as those who attend conferences, sports, cultural and alumni events.

The study indicated that one of the system’s biggest benefits to the state is in direct payroll spending because most employees’ income is spent in the state. According to the report, Penn College faculty and staff spending was more than $40.4 million in 2008.

The report also noted that, in 2008, Penn College impacted the employment of 3,589 (1,639 directly and 1,950 indirectly) including full- and part-time faculty, staff and students, as well as jobs created to service the needs of the college and its employees at local and state levels.

Penn College’s spending for capital improvements, goods and services, and supplies in 2008 totaled $18.2 million. This included facility improvements made by Pennsylvania contractors and the purchase of equipment, goods, services and supplies from in-state vendors.

The Tripp Umbach report also found that Penn College generated nearly $18.6 million in government revenue directly and indirectly in 2008 by working with Pennsylvania businesses that generate state revenues through sales tax, corporate net income tax and capital stock/franchise taxes.

“Penn College will continue to be a catalyst for economic vitality,” Gilmour said. “We expect to contribute significantly in 2009 and 2010 as we work with many Pennsylvania contractors and suppliers to accomplish a $45 million campus renovation and construction project.”

The president also said she is proud of the laudable position Penn College holds in Penn State’s overall economic impact.

“Our emphasis on applied technology education and our unique affiliation with Penn State are important to our overall success,” she said. “We have the access and the ability to respond quickly to changing workplace needs and to prepare graduates for immediate employment in new and emerging career fields. Because the vast majority of our graduates choose to remain in Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth benefits quickly and directly from our success.”

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 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.

To view the report in its entirety, visit online.

For more information about Penn College, visit on the Web , e-mail or call toll-free 800-367-9222.