Oklahoma Higher Education Campus E-Clips sponsored by the Communicators Council

January 2011

Study Shows USAO Boosts Local Economy Nearly $12M Annually


USAO Economy
The back of an imaginary $12 million bill is emblazoned with a picture of USAO’s Troutt Hall, representing the nearly $12 million that, according to a recent study, USAO contributes either directly or indirectly into Chickasha’s economy.

Chickasha’s economy gets a boost of nearly $12 million yearly from the University of Science and Arts, according to a study designed to examine the 103-year-old institution’s economic impact on the local economy.

The study, which measures the impact of direct spending by the university as well as the spending habits of those it employs, found that the institution’s presence in Chickasha generates over $8 million in personal income and supports more than 600 jobs.

Adjusted using figures generated by the 2010 census, this makes the university responsible for producing or supporting nearly 7.5 percent of the jobs available in the Chickasha tax base, said John Feaver, president of the university.

“This study underscores the symbiotic relationship between USAO and its home community. Just as local citizens provided the energy to conceive and launch a state college here in 1908, today Chickasha collaborates with us in the arts and key academic programs, athletics, charity causes, cultural studies and more.”

The study can be read in its entirety online at http://link.usao.edu/EconImpact.

In addition to measuring the current impact of the university on Chickasha’s economy, the study uses these figures to speculate on how changes in enrollment levels might play out in the community at large.

“While USAO is not Chickasha’s largest single employer or largest source of spending and income,” the study concedes, “the jobs, income and business volume generated because of its presence is anything but trivial.

“This is perhaps easiest to consider in the negative: if USAO disappeared, the loss of 640 jobs, almost $12 million in business volume and $8 million in income connected to the university would certainly be felt in the local economy.”

Increases in enrollment by as few as 100 students would have an equally measurable effect of the economic well being of the city. Local business volume would rise to more than $12.6 million annually.

More than 100 new private and public sector jobs would be created or supported by the related growth of faculty, staff and students. Larger increases in student growth would pay proportional benefits.

According to the study, USAO is “an important target area for economic growth in the Chickasha community.

“Identifying potential mechanisms through which various partners, including the city of Chickasha itself, might help USAO realize this growth in a mutually beneficial and cost-effective manner is therefore of no small significance.”

Research was conducted jointly by economists Dr. Jennifer Long and Dr. Erik Guzik, both of whom teach at USAO. Long is an associate professor of economics, an 11-year member of the faculty, and chair of interdisciplinary studies. Long is an economic historian with expertise in colonial American economics, women’s labor history and institutional economics. Before USAO, she taught at the University of Tennessee, where she earlier earned a Ph.D., and Keene State College in New Hampshire.

Guzik is an assistant professor of economics who joined the USAO faculty in 2006. He teaches micro- and macroeconomics, public finance and creative problem solving. He came to USAO from the University of Massachusetts, where he earned his master’s degree in economics and doctorate in global trade policy.

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