West Virginia’s public higher education institutions have $2.7 billion impact on state


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia’s 21 public institutions of higher education contributed approximately $2.7 billion to the state’s economy in 2014, according to a report released today by the West Virginia University Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER). The research also showed that the public institutions supported 22,000 jobs.

The study, commissioned by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, centered around West Virginia’s 12 four-year institutions and nine two–year institutions. Additionally, when combined with tuition, student spending and other sources of revenue, the economic impact of these institutions was nearly seven times the amount of the state’s appropriation for the colleges and universities.

“West Virginia’s higher education system serves as a strong economic backbone for communities across the state,” Dr. Paul Hill, Chancellor of the Commission, said. “Investments in higher education yield multi-faceted returns, from attracting new employers to driving the research and innovation needed to create a robust private-sector economy. Perhaps most importantly, our colleges and universities play a crucial role in keeping our young people working and living here at home. Year after year, we see that the majority of our in-state college graduates ultimately choose to build their careers, their families and their lives in the Mountain State.” 

The state’s direct appropriation to 12 four-year institutions and nine two-year institutions declined to $401 million in Fiscal Year 2014 (the most recent year for which statistics are available), which represents approximately 25 percent of the total budget for the colleges and universities and underscores the strong return on state investments in higher education – even amid declining state revenues. 

“West Virginia’s public institutions of higher education are critical institutions for improving the educational attainment of the state’s residents and workforce,” read the report by the BBER. “However, aside from their educational benefits, these institutions are also important economic drivers in the communities where they are located.”

The study indicated that, in addition to supporting more than 22,000 jobs, the state’s 21 colleges and universities reported compensation of $1.4 billion. That activity generated more than $60 million in tax revenue for the state.

“Our colleges play a crucial role in preparing our students — and our state — to meet emerging workforce demands,” Dr. Sarah Tucker, Chancellor of the West Virginia Community and Technical College System, said. “Our campuses offer stable employment to thousands of West Virginians while fulfilling their mission to instill within their graduates the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in their careers.”

The economic impact of four-year institutions in West Virginia is as follows:

  • WVU-Main Campus: $1.4 billion
  • Marshall University: $397.7 million
  • Shepherd University: $91.1 million
  • Fairmont State University: $82.6 million
  • WV State University: $75.2 million
  • WV School of Osteopathic Medicine: $64.6 million
  • Concord University: $56.6 million
  • West Liberty University: $50.2 million
  • Bluefield State College: $33.7 million college
  • WVU Institute of Technology: $29.5 million
  • Glenville State College: $27.9 million
  • Potomac State College: $27.9 million college

WVU produced the most significant impact of any four-year institution based upon state investment, with a ratio of $7.50 for every dollar invested by the state.

The impact figures for Marshall and WVU do not include medical facilities associated with the universities, which reflect substantial economic ripple effects. For example, according to Dr. John Deskins, BBER director, the economic impact of WVU medical facilities alone during FY 2014 was $1.9 billion. 

The economic impact of two-year institutions in West Virginia is as follows:

  • Pierpont Community and Technical College: $33.9 million
  • West Virginia University at Parkersburg: $33.3 million
  • New River Community and Technical College: $30.6 million
  • BridgeValley Community and Technical College: $30.1 million
  • Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College: $24.7 million
  • Mountwest Community and Technical College: $21.7 million
  • West Virginia Northern Community College: $21.5 million
  • Blue Ridge Community and Technical College: $19.1 million
  • Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College: $5.6 million

New River produced the most significant impact of any two-year institution based upon state investment, with a ratio of $5.30 for every dollar invested by the state.

To download the study, visit http://be.wvu.edu/bber/pdfs/Economic-Impact-of-Public-Higher-Ed-Institutions-July2016.pdf

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