Economic impact extends beyond students

For Immediate Release:  March 31, 2015

BLOOMSBURG – In just one year, Bloomsburg University added more than $350 million to the economy of Northeastern Pennsylvania, but that figure only scratches the surface of the school’s true value.

The vibrations from the economic and opportunity engine created by the university go far beyond the spending and positive social impact of its approximately 10,000 full- and part-time students and 1,000 faculty and staff, according to a study by Idaho-based Economic Modeling Specialists International.

From helping to create a more productive workforce to being a magnet that attracts new businesses and industry, BU’s benefits touch every corner of the state.

“Many studies have shown the value of higher education in terms of providing better opportunities for graduates,” said BU President David L. Soltz. “As one of 14 publicly funded universities that make up Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education, we felt it was important to show the return state residents receive for every tax dollar spent.”

The EMSI study used various data from the 2012-13 academic year to create an overall analysis of Bloomsburg University’s impact. Highlights include:

Immediate economic benefits

  • Pennsylvania spent $33.5 million of taxpayer dollars through state appropriation to support BU’s operation in 2012-13 — providing only 24 percent of the university’s $135.7 million operating budget. In addition, state grants brought more than $8 million in scholarship, work study, and miscellaneous grant funds into the community through Bloomsburg University. Overall, commonwealth support was just 12 percent of the $350.3 million the university’s presence added to the local economy over the same time period.
  • Much of BU’s annual $110.5 million faculty and staff payroll is spent regionally on housing, goods and services.
  • Following commencement, 36 percent of graduates remain in the region at least a year, generating $175 million in taxable income. Seventy-four percent of BU’s graduates choose to remain in the commonwealth.
  • In 2012-13, students provided 81,000 hours of volunteer service to businesses and the community. In 2014, the Big Event, an annual community service project, drew more than 2,000 students who helped area residents with spring cleaning chores, including painting and raking.
  • BU-affiliated services, such as the Honeysuckle Apartments, Center for Community Research and Consulting and Audiology Clinic, add more than $140 million to the region’s income.

Long-term benefits

  • Bloomsburg bachelor degree holders earn on average $23,000 a year more than someone with a high school diploma. That equals a return of $3.40 in higher income for every tuition dollar spent.
  • Those with a higher level of education are less likely to have difficulty finding a job or to run afoul of the law. Today’s student population will likely save society more than $160,000 in unemployment costs and almost $2 million in law enforcement savings.
  • Over the working lives of today’s student population, Pennsylvania will receive more than $43 million in higher income tax receipts due to the higher salaries commanded by BU graduates. Employers also pay higher taxes through their increased output and spending.

“The EMSI study demonstrates that Bloomsburg University is truly an economic and opportunity engine,” Soltz said. “The positive impact of Bloomsburg and her sister institutions across the commonwealth clearly shows that investing in higher education is one of the best ways Pennsylvania can ensure prosperity for all citizens.”

Bloomsburg University is one of 14 universities in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education. The university serves approximately 10,000 students, offering comprehensive programs of study in the colleges of Education, Business, Liberal Arts and Science and Technology.

Economic Modeling Specialists Intl., a CareerBuilder company, turns labor market data into useful information that helps organizations understand the connection between economies, people and work. For more information about EMSI, go to