America’s colleges and universities are difference makers.
We know that we change lives and influence careers through our primary mission of education. We contribute to the growing body of world knowledge by conducting leading-edge research. We add to our culture through the arts and a variety of creative activities. Our employees are active in community service.
But it only takes a glance at today’s headlines to make us wonder what our contribution is to the regional and state economy. Are we making a positive difference in today’s troubling economic times? And, if so, how far-reaching is that impact?
To help us answer those questions and more, Prof. James P. LeSage, holder of the McCoy Endowed Chair in Urban and Regional Economics in our McCoy College of Business Administration, recently conducted a study that examined the economic impact of Texas State University-San Marcos on Hays County, the Central Texas region and the state.
With 2,600 full-time employees, Texas State is by far the largest single employer in Hays County. And with more than 28,000 students, the university can almost be considered a city within a city. Clearly, the university is an economic force locally, but what is that impact in terms of real dollars and cents, and how far does that impact extend?
The results of Prof. LeSage’s study were eye-opening.
The study showed that in Hays County alone, Texas State is responsible for a total annual economic impact of $545 million. The total employment impact of the university in Hays County is the creation of 9,314 full-time-equivalent jobs. One in six jobs in Hays County exists because of dollars spent by the university, its employees, its students or its visitors.
As the study broadens in geographic scope, the numbers become even more compelling. In the Central Texas region (defined in the study as Hays County, plus the counties of Bastrop, Bexar, Burnet, Caldwell, Comal, Guadalupe, Travis and Williamson), Texas state has an economic impact of more than $748 million and creates more than 11,500 jobs as a result of those dollars spent.
Statewide, the university’s economic impact falls just short of $1 billion ($960 million), and it was determined that the university is responsible for the creation of almost 14,000 jobs in Texas.
The economic impact study shows that we are, indeed, making a difference, and that difference extends to the furthest corners of our state.
It reinforces what we believed to begin with – that Texas State is an important part of the economic lifeblood of the region and the state. It shows that we contribute significantly not only to the higher education aspirations of Texans, but to their economic interests as well.
Denise M. Trauth, President
Texas State University-San Marcos