UW-Rock economic impact estimated at $6 million
View the study
JANESVILLE Having a college in town boosts the local culture but also to the local economy. Just ask Whitewater or Beloit.
Now, Janesville’s college, UW-Rock County can say with some precision how it contributes to the local economy.
UW-Rock just released a new study that shows an annual impact of $6 million, most of that going to private businesses.
The study used data from fiscal year 2007–08 and focused only on spending by UW-Rock, its employees and students.
The study found that students spent $2.24 million in Rock County. Spending by faculty, other employees and the institution itself accounted for the rest of the $6 million.
The study did not delve into spending by people who visit the campus or the long-term effects on students who learn new skills and increase their productivity and how that affects their lifetime earnings.
The study also did not include spending by Rock County government on behalf of the university. The county owns the land and is responsible for construction and upkeep.
Because of its narrow scope, the study’s estimates are “at best, conservative,” wrote the study’s author, longtime UW-Rock economics professor George Jones.
“The university’s activities can be likened to that of any major business enterprise in the local economy. The university employs faculty and staff, and thus contributes to the local job base,” Jones wrote.
“Furthermore, the educational services it provides generate tuition revenues, and the institutional and employee-related expenditures derived from these revenue streams support the economic activities of local businesses such as nearby gas stations, retail stores, groceries, and restaurants.”
That spending then creates “ripples” of additional spending, income and employment locally, according to the economic model that Jones used.
UW-Rock’s biggest contribution to the economy in 2007-08 was its $3.17 million payroll. Fringe benefits, supplies, capital purchases and other expenses made up the rest of the institution’s $4.24 million in spending.
Not all of that money was spent in Rock County, however. Jones tallied UW-Rock payments to local vendors and estimated in-county spending by staff and students.
Among his findings for 2007-08:
-- UW-Rock employed 101 faculty and staff. Twenty-three of those were faculty members, and 31.6 were “instructional academic staff.”
-- Those employees spent an estimated $1.83 million in the local economy.
-- 913 students attended UW-Rock in fall 2007 and 865 in the spring 2008 semester. Some were part-time students. Eighty-nine percent of students lived in Rock County, the rest in adjoining counties.
-- Students spend $2.24 million locally. Their largest expense was housing, followed by costs related to their cars then food.
-- UW-Rock’s direct purchases of local goods and services amounted to $293,734.
-- UW-Rock, its employees and students combined spend $4.26 million. Jones factored in multiplier effects of that money—a common practice in such studies—to calculate the $6 million impact.
-- All that spending generated 55 jobs in the community, Jones estimated, and those jobs provided incomes totaling $1.7 million.
Students’ spending today is likely greater than in 2007-08, according to a news release, because enrollment has increased. Fall 2010 enrollment was more than 1,200.
Jones’ study cost $895, which paid for specialized software and the time of a student who helped input data, a spokeswoman said.
A grant from the Frank Fiorina Faculty Development Fund for Research, through the UW-Rock County Foundation, paid the cost.