BU adds $121 million to Columbia County’s economy

Date:  September 14, 2006


BLOOMSBURG—Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania is Columbia County’s largest employer, contributing $121 million to the county’s economy each year.

The economic benefit of BU and its 13 sister institutions is outlined in a new report, “The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education: Economic Impact on the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.” The report, prepared by faculty from West Chester University’s Center for Social and Economic Research, College of Business and Public Affairs, is based on data from 2003-04 and updates similar information from 1997.

Overall, PASSHE contributes more than $4.7 billion to the state’s economy and is responsible, directly and indirectly, for more than 51,000 jobs. PASSHE ranks as the 15th largest employer in Pennsylvania with 12,212 salaried employees in fall 2004, according to the report.

Of that total, BU’s total statewide economic impact is more than $357 million. According to the report, BU is responsible, directly and indirectly, for 4,099 jobs across the state and 1,401 in Columbia County. Spending by the university and its students, visitors, faculty and staff generates more than $148 million and indirect revenues for local individuals and businesses total nearly $209 million.

BU’s total economic impact on Columbia County increased 58 percent in the years between the two studies – from $76.7 million to $121 million. Other highlights included in the report are:

- Each dollar invested by the commonwealth and appropriated to BU yields a return of $11.25 in total economic impact.

- BU’s total in-county economic impact represented 6.2 percent of Columbia County’s nominal Gross County Product of $1.9 billion.

- BU students’ overall total economic impact was 69.7 percent of BU’s total impact on Columbia County.

- Fifty percent of BU’s approximately 950 employees reside in Columbia County; 80 percent live in the three-county area of Columbia, Montour and Northumberland counties.

- State sales tax and individual income tax paid by students, faculty and staff total $3.5 million per year.

- BU funding in support of economic development totaled $9.3 million and external funding totaled $10.9 million. Economic development is defined as efforts to encourage, enhance and assist new and existing businesses and to support and increase employment opportunities.

- Sixty-six percent of all faculty and staff volunteer an average of 4.67 hours per month for an estimated annual value of $872,879.


Bloomsburg University is one of 14 universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The university serves approximately 8,000 students, offering comprehensive programs of study in the colleges of Professional Studies, Business, Liberal Arts and Science and Technology.