Career Connections

Text Alert

Get Connected

PASSHE Economic Impact Study

PASSHE universities contribute $4.47 billion to Pennsylvania economy
Responsible for more than 51,000 jobs across the commonwealth

$4.47 billion.

That is the estimated economic impact the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) and its 14 universities have annually on the commonwealth. PASSHE and the universities also are directly or indirectly responsible for more than 51,000 jobs across Pennsylvania.

For every $1 invested in PASSHE by the commonwealth, the universities return more than $10 in economic impact. That includes total spending by the universities, as well as spending by faculty and staff, students and their families and other campus visitors. PASSHE ranks as the 15th largest employer in Pennsylvania, with 12,212 salaried employees as of fall 2004. Indirectly, the universities are responsible for another approximately 39,000 jobs statewide, from the contractors and their employees who work on campus buildings to the literally hundreds of small businesses that operate in the campus communities, providing everything from the goods and services the universities need for their daily operations to the pizzas students buy to fuel their late-night study sessions.

University key player

"PASSHE universities are key players in Pennsylvania's economy," said Kenneth M. Jarin, chairman of PASSHE's Board of Governors. "Not only do they provide an educated workforce for Pennsylvania employers, they are major employers themselves. PASSHE universities create dozens of business opportunities in their communities, in their regions and throughout the commonwealth."

Former Gov. Edward G. Rendell hailed PASSHE's significant contributions to the commonwealth, saying, "It is clear that Pennsylvania's 14 state universities have an impact far beyond the boundaries of the campus communities.

"Not only are these universities preparing more than 100,000 students each year for careers and new opportunities for the future, they serve as economic generators, helping to support tens of thousands of jobs and various businesses," Rendell said. "This study shows the tremendous influence these schools have in the commonwealth and on its future."  In many of the communities in which the PASSHE universities are located, the campuses represent the engines that drive the local economies. Most of the state-owned schools are in rural communities and small towns. Nine PASSHE universities rank among the top 10 employers in their respective home counties. Bloomsburg, Clarion and Indiana Universities of Pennsylvania are the top employers in their counties.

Economic Impact StatsInvolved with regional economic development

PASSHE universities are actively involved in both local and regional economic development efforts in virtually every corner of the commonwealth, offering workforce development and training opportunities to employers and their employees, as well as small business development assistance to both budding and established entrepreneurs.

All 14 universities participate in the commonwealth's various workforce development and job training initiatives. Four of the universities - Clarion, Indiana, Kutztown and Lock Haven - operate Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), and Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania will open a new SBDC this year. Five of the Universities - Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Indiana and Millersville - operate business incubators that provide valuable research and development assistance that helps grow new businesses, and five more -Bloomsburg, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Millersville and Shippensburg - are partners in Keystone Innovation Zones (KIZs).

Based on the results of the latest economic impact study, the direct impact of institutional, faculty, staff, student and visitor spending totaled $1.86 billion in fiscal year 2003-04. Indirect spending totaled another $2.61 billion. The two PASSHE universities with the largest total impact on the state were Indiana University of Pennsylvania ($564 million) and West Chester University of Pennsylvania ($509 million). The average economic impact of each PASSHE University on the Commonwealth was about $313 million. The average "in-county" economic impact of each PASSHE university was $125 million. (See chart attached.) PASSHE's economic impact added $42 million to the commonwealth's general fund in the form of sales and income taxes. The state system's total economic impact has nearly doubled since 1995-96 - the last time such a study was conducted - far outpacing the nearly 24 percent inflation rate over that same time.

PASSHE largest provider of higher education in Pennsylvania

With more than 107,000 students, Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is the largest provider of higher education in the commonwealth. The 14 PASSHE universities offer more than 250 degree and certificate programs in more than 120 areas of study. More than 405,000 PASSHE alumni live and work in Pennsylvania.

The state-owned universities are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock, and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania. PASSHE also operates branch campuses in Clearfield, Freeport, Oil City and Punxsutawney, and several regional centers, including the Dixon University Center in Harrisburg.