San Diego Business Journal

Studies Reveal Colleges' Economic Impact on Area

San Diego's four-year universities annually contribute millions of dollars to the local economy, according to a recent survey.

The University of San Diego undertook an economic impact study this year to discover just how much economic influence it has on local commerce. The study found USD boosts the region's economy by nearly $300 million annually.

The 2,500 full, part-time and student employees at USD have a net payroll after taxes of $52.5 million. USD's faculty and staff spend an estimated $101.5 million on purchases and services within the community.

The research also determined that the 42 percent of the student body who come from other states or from abroad bring a wealth of financial resources to San Diego. According to the economic impact report, during the 2000-01 school year, 7,000 students at the private university spent roughly $38.9 million in San Diego on rent, food, entertainment and other expenses.

An official study conducted in 1996 by San Diego State University determined that $770 million was transferred to the local economy in that one year. Since then, SDSU has yet to follow up with another study, "but the amount has only increased substantially," said Jason Foster, the school's media relations manager.

The eastward expansion of the trolley and future stop at Aztec Center has a total construction bill of over $400 million, he said. Without the funding by SDSU for the project, that money would never make its way back into the local economy.

UCSD generated a local economic impact of $1.4 billion according to its 2001 annual financial report. The university spent $587.1 million on goods and services in 2000 and paid an average of $63.9 million in salaries every month.

The report cited 68,000 jobs are created locally as a direct contribution from UCSD, which also disbursed $56.2 million in student aid and $3.2 million in student loans last year.

Nationally, UCSD had a $2.6 billion impact, which is seven times the state's initial investment of $346.7 million, according to UCSD's 2001 financial report. Students and visitors to UCSD made a $74 million impact on the local economy in 2001.

Over the next five years, UCSD is planning to spend at least $792 million on capital improvements, such as new construction and equipment.

According to Author Shingler, vice president of financial affairs at Point Loma Nazarene University, the private university adds roughly $40 million each year to the local economy. The relatively small student body at Point Loma makes a substantial contribution to the surrounding area.

The 2,700 undergraduate and 300 master's students enrolled at Point Loma contribute more than 100,000 hours of volunteer work to the community.

, Todd Macaluso