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Bloomsburg University's presence in rural Northeastern Pennsylvania offers economic and social opportunities that otherwise would not be possible. In just one year, spending related to BU added $350.3 million to the region.
But the benefits don’t stop there. Just as significant are the many businesses created, expanded and relocated to the area drawn by access to BU’s faculty and staff and talented students.
More than 50 percent of BU’s students relocate from outside the region and 74 percent of the university’s graduates choose to remain in Pennsylvania. Not only do these educated, motivated alumni keep the Commonwealth competitive with other states, but the higher salaries their expertise commands mean more tax revenue to support critical services that benefit all citizens.
Undeniable Husky Power
The benefits of a BU education last a lifetime, both in terms of earning potential and the ability to pursue a fulfilling career. BU bachelor degree holders earn on average $23,000 more a year than someone with a high school diploma. That equals a return of $3.40 in higher income for every tuition dollar. BU’s 2012-13 graduating class will earn an additional $539.3 million in today’s dollars over the course of their working life.
Enhanced job opportunities and higher salaries tell only part of the story.
The discipline required to earn a bachelor’s degree or higher, as well as the knowledge gained, make BU students healthier, more productive members of society. BU graduates are statistically less likely to smoke or have addiction problems. These better choices by the current student population over their lifetime translate into a savings of more than $150 million in unused medical care.
Those with a higher level of education also are less likely to have difficulty finding a job or to run afoul of the law. Today’s student population will likely save society more than $160,000 in unemployment costs and almost $2 million in law enforcement savings.
Creating Regional Prosperity
The vibrations from the economic and opportunity engine created by BU go far beyond the spending and positive social impact of its approximately 10,000 full- and part-time students and 1,000 faculty and staff.
Pennsylvania spent $33.5 million through state appropriation to support BU in 2012-13 — providing 24 percent of the university's $135.7 million education and general operating budget. In addition, state grants provided more than $8 million in scholarship, work study and miscellaneous grant funds.
Overall, commonwealth support was just 12 percent of the $350.3 million the university's presence added to the local economy over the same time period.
- Much of BU's $110.5 million annual faculty and staff payroll is spent regionally on housing, goods and services.
- BU spent $60.9 million on its operations, further supporting local businesses.
- An estimate 80,000 visitors came to BU in 2012-13, with 23 percent coming from outside the region and spending nearly $1 million.
- An estimated 53 percent of BU's students come from outside the region and spend $80.3 million on living expenses while getting their degree. In 2012-13 alone, out-of-region students contributed $32.3 million to the local economy.
- Following graduation, 36 percent remain in the region at least a year, generating $175 million in taxable income.
A Sense of Community
No evaluation of BU’s positive impact on surrounding communities would be complete without considering the many collaborations occurring daily with local businesses and residents. BU students provide 81,000 hours of volunteer time each year, working on everything from neighborhood cleanups to assisting small businesses develop websites and marketing plans.
The Big Event — an annual one-day community service project — draws more than 2,000 students who help with chores such as raking, painting, removing debris, and various spring cleaning duties.
Residents of Northeastern Pennsylvania benefit from access to services. University-affiliated organizations and activities add more than $140 million annually to the region’s income.
Local youth take part in summer academic and sports camps. Gifted high school students can take advanced courses and earn college credits in BU’s growing STEM Magnet Program which challenges them in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. The list goes on to touch every corner of the surrounding community, the region and the Commonwealth.