September 27, 2007 - Middletown Journal

Colleges have nearly $3B impact on area - Southern Ohio Council for Higher Education's report shows 'presence here is very important'

Colleges and universities contributed nearly $3 billion to the Miami Valley economy in 2005-06, making them a major economic engine along with the region's hospitals.

An economic impact report released today by the Dayton-based Southwestern Ohio Council for Higher Education shows colleges and universities generated $2.95 billion in economic activity in a 10-county region through their own expenditures ($1.29 billion) and indirectly through its employees and the ripple effect of its economic activity ($1.36 billion).

The 19 SOCHE members — which includes Miami University Middletown — employ 21,366 workers with a combined payroll of $1.2 billion in 2005-06, according to the report conducted by a University of Cincinnati Research group.

By comparison, the 19 nonprofit and governmental hospitals in the Miami Valley employed 30,095 people and had an economic impact of $5.68 billion in fiscal year 2005, according to a recent economic impact study completed by Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association.

Butler County Commissioner Gregory Jolivette said Miami University and its branch campuses in Middletown and Hamilton help keep young people in the county by providing them a place to get educated without leaving the county.

"Their presence here is very important for Butler County," he said.

It also provides a collection of experts for local municipalities to use, and an educated work force to attract and retain companies, he said. The university also draws students from outside Butler County.

"They bring in dollars that they spend in the county," Jolivette said.

SOCHE, a 40-year-old consortium based in Dayton, commissioned the study to help people gain a better understanding of higher education's influence on the regional economy.

"We think of higher education as one of our region's richest assets and this report formally captures those significant economic benefits," said Sean Creighton, SOCHE executive director.

The report found colleges and universities directly spent nearly $2 billion in the region, 60 percent toward operating their campuses and 34 percent toward personnel. The remaining 7 percent was on capital projects.

The indirect impact of their spending — $1.36 billion in additional economic activity and an additional 12,000 jobs — is equally important, SOCHE said.
Constructions projects alone — on which the schools spent $121 million — generated an additional $134.6 million in economic impact, according to SOCHE.

All that activity, the report says, created overall household income of $1.07 billion in 10 counties: Butler, Champaign, Clark, Clinton, Darke, Greene, Miami, Montgomery, Preble and Warren.

Click here to access the Economic Impact Study.