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Study: Higher ed boosts Wake economy

Posted September 15, 2008

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— The five colleges and universities in Raleigh account for a quarter of all wage and salary income and a fifth of total employment in Wake County, according to a study released Monday.

Meredith College, North Carolina State University, Peace College, St. Augustine’s College and Shaw University contributed an estimated $5.5 billion to the Wake County economy last year, the study reported.

The study looked at the combined effects of what the institutions spent for faculty and staff salaries and for campus operations and construction, as well as spending by students, alumni living in the area and attendees at athletic and cultural events.

“We have a unique combination of colleges and universities in Wake County with an economic impact that goes beyond that of faculty and student spending,” Laura Bingham, president of Peace College and president of the board of directors of Cooperating Raleigh Colleges, the group that represents the five schools, said in a statement.

The colleges and universities spent $941.1 million in 2007 on faculty and staff salaries. Another $182.1 million went toward operational expenses, from food service and maintenance to office supplies and equipment. Campus construction accounted for another $50.6 million, and athletic and cultural events for $26.6 million.

Many students also work while in school. An estimated 7,457 students held off-campus jobs during the year, the study reported.

Bingham said Raleigh is the only community in the country with the combination of a large, state research university, two historically black colleges and universities and two women’s colleges. That combination of institutions has had long-lasting impact – both economic and cultural – on the Wake County area, she said.

“Perhaps the impact that is most often underestimated is the effect of the thousands of graduates of these institutions who come here for college and remain in the area as highly educated and contributing citizens,” Bingham said.

The study estimated that alumni spending accounted for about $4 billion per year of the total economic impact. An estimated 61,441 alumni of the five campuses held jobs in Wake County in 2007.

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  • dapalmer Sep 15, 2008

    The study left out a local school that does not use a dime of public support and supplies reliable student employees for local businesses - The College at Southeastern and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. There are over 2500 students there, many with families, and most work at least 40 hours each week at businesses in Wake and surrounding counties.

  • lizard Sep 15, 2008

    All those schools and nobody knows squat about economics.

  • bs101fly Sep 15, 2008

    "Maybe that is why my value keeps going up, we are in traditional school district"

    better look again! if it is going up you better sell now because next year when the lousy school board wins the court case and converts ALL schools to year rounders you TOO will get to join in the fun!

    NO SELLs and ZERO APPRECIATION!

  • us-citizen3 Sep 15, 2008

    higher ED might have been a help at one time, but it's ALL negated by the lack of quality ED now in the public schools. SO, it's a negative gain! Don't believe me? Look at the home sales around Mandatory Year Round camps that the NO Education school board has created! You can't even sell a home in our community for what you paid for it thanks to Chuck Dulaney and Del Burns with their communist leadership!

    Maybe that is why my value keeps going up, we are in traditional school district

  • bs101fly Sep 15, 2008

    higher ED might have been a help at one time, but it's ALL negated by the lack of quality ED now in the public schools.
    SO, it's a negative gain!
    Don't believe me? Look at the home sales around Mandatory Year Round camps that the NO Education school board has created!
    You can't even sell a home in our community for what you paid for it thanks to Chuck Dulaney and Del Burns with their communist leadership!

  • us-citizen3 Sep 15, 2008

    When you're looking for an economic boost...we all go to to NC State...

    I still have no idea what that was supposed to mean. NCSU does nothing to boost the econmy

  • cbrow Sep 15, 2008

    What about Wake Tech? They also impact the community and add much to the local economic and cultural offerings but like the rest of the community college system, it gets little support or recognition when compared to the K-12 or university systems.

  • lgilbert1 Sep 15, 2008

    Yea I totally agree with uscitizen3... this education train is heading for the gorge with the breaks out.

  • us-citizen3 Sep 15, 2008

    I think we have been arueing this point for 30 years. Glad they finally are getting the point. That is why everyone has been screaming at the public schools to improve. It might be too late though, the rest of the world is running over us. But again, if you are educated in bad schools, how do you figure out what needs to be done. If you don't know any better, how do you improve???????

  • cj1979 Sep 15, 2008

    When you're looking for an economic boost...we all go to to NC State...

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