by ANDREA NORTHAM
Winona State University (WSU) generates $447.8 million in economic impact each year, according to a recent study assessing the economic contributions of the seven state universities and 30 state colleges in the Minnesota State system.
“I’m proud to see that the numbers in this report confirm that Winona State has a significant impact on local, regional and state economies,” said WSU President Scott R. Olson. “It’s gratifying to see that our community of learners is improving our world to such a great extent.”
The economic impact study was commissioned by Minnesota State and conducted by Parker Philips, a nationally recognized consulting firm specializing in economic impact analysis. The methodology used was comparable to the 2013 Winona State economic impact study conducted by Wilder Research, which determined WSU’s economic impact at the time to be $307 million.
The study considered direct spending on operations, pay, benefits, and capital projects by WSU and the estimated increase in demand for goods and services in industry sectors that supply or support the university. It also measured the effect of student spending and the induced effect of increased household income.
In the 11-county southeast region, which includes Winona, Olmsted and Goodhue counties, Winona State was the majority contributor to the system’s economic impact, accounting for 79 percent of the total economic impact generated in the region.
According to the study, WSU supports and sustains 3,465 jobs, including direct employment by the university, as well as indirect and induced jobs created by supply and equipment vendors and contractors and laborers for the construction and renovation of facilities, and jobs created in the community at hotels, restaurants, and retail stores in support of the Winona State’s faculty, staff, students, and visitors. In total, Minnesota State contributes 5,529 jobs in Southeast Minnesota.
The study also calculated the tax revenues generated by WSU’s level of economic activity, including sales, property, personal income, and corporate income taxes, and concluded that WSU generates about $24.2 million in tax revenues for state and local government — nearly 70 percent of the total state and local tax revenue generated by the Minnesota State system in the southeast region.
The economic impact study further estimated the value of the increase in productivity that the degrees awarded by Winona State yield throughout the careers of the graduates. Assuming a 40-year work life, the education received by these graduates will yield additional state income of $27.4 billion (future value, discounted and adjusted to account for such factors as foregone income while attending school and outmigration).
“In many ways, this is our mission in action, but the numbers are only one side of the story,” said Dr. Olson. “We prepare our graduates to serve generously, lead responsibly, and respond imaginatively and creatively to the challenges of their work, their lives and their communities. Numbers alone can’t quantify the skills and knowledge our students and alumni contribute to organizations throughout the region and state.”
Dr. Olson emphasized that WSU’s success extends far beyond the numbers represented in the economic impact study. The 2016 Minnesota State allocation model shows that WSU has the highest overall student success rate of all 37 colleges and universities, as well as the highest success rate in the system for students of color — 86.9 percent and growing. After graduation, the measures of success continue and branch out across the global network of 50,000 Winona State alumni and alumnae. More than 95 percent of WSU graduates are employed or furthering their studies in areas related to their major within one year of graduation, which is high by national standards.
“Since 1858, WSU has been a place where hopes and dreams are launched,” said Dr. Olson. “Our students, our faculty, our staff, our community partners, and our alumni and alumnae network — 50,000 strong around the globe — all work together to achieve the markers of success that define who we are: a community of learners improving our world.”
The economic contribution report for Winona State is available at MinnState.edu/IMPACT.
At a glance: WSU Economic Impact Study results
• $447.8 million in economic impact per year ($24.2 million in state and local revenue and $9.3 million in community contribution)
• Supports and sustains 3,465 jobs
• Over 1,900 graduates annually
• 42,076 Winona State alumni living and working in Minnesota
• $27.4 billion in additional income (anticipated increase in earning over those with a high school degree)
Statewide, all Minnesota State operations, including all seven state universities and 30 community and technical colleges, plus the spending of its faculty, staff, and students, had a total statewide economic contribution of $8 billion. This activity generated an estimated 67,717 jobs in the state.
About Minnesota State
Minnesota State includes 30 community and technical colleges and seven state universities serving approximately 375,000 students. It is the fourth-largest system of two-year colleges and four-year universities in the United States.