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Big Impact: NC Colleges Make Huge Economic Contribution

Davidson College Belk Dorm
Davidson College's Belk Dorm

A comprehensive analysis of the economic impact of higher education in North Carolina has found that Davidson College created $148.5 million of added economic value during the 2012-13 fiscal year.

Overall, the public and private colleges and universities had an impact of $63.5 billion in state, including payroll, operations, the purchase of goods and services, start-up companies, and spending generated by students and alumni.

"This is good news for North Carolina, and Davidson College is pleased to contribute to the economic vitality of our great state," said Davidson College President Carol Quillen. "At a time when our global economy demands leadership, creativity and collaboration to spur growth, this data can serve as a guide for policymakers as they consider the centrality of higher education for North Carolina's future."

Davidson College seeks out intellectually curious students who are committed to developing their talents for lives of leadership and service. Small classes enable faculty to work closely with students, engaging them directly in original research and creative work. Nearly one-quarter of Davidson's students compete in Division I athletics, and 80 percent study or work internationally during their Davidson careers. The college cultivates students' compassion, moral courage and resilience in a community founded on trust as articulated by the Honor Code and is committed to access and equal opportunity through The Davidson Trust.

"Private higher education has been a critical part of North Carolina's economy for more than 200 years, and that impact continues to grow as we increase partnerships with our public higher education partners," noted NCICU President A. Hope Williams. "From our small liberal arts colleges to our comprehensive and research universities, private higher education affects all aspects of the quality of life of North Carolina citizens."

The study was commissioned by the University of North Carolina system, the North Carolina Community College System and North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU), and conducted by Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI). It is the first-ever multi-sector analysis of higher education's impact on the state's economy, and one of the most comprehensive reports of its kind ever done for a single state. Data and assumptions used are based on 2012-13 academic and financial reports from the higher education institutions, industry and employment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau, and additional sources.

The 36 campuses of NCICU, which together enroll almost 90,000 students from around the world, generated a combined $14.2 billion in added state income. This includes more than $4 billion on payroll and benefits for 66,309 full-time and part-time employees and $6.8 billion on goods and services to carry out their day-to-day operations, research, and clinical activities. The rest comes from construction and the spending of their students, visitors, start-up companies, and alumni, which in turn creates more spending and employment across the state. The added state income, or ad¬ditional Gross State Product, of $14.2 billion created by NCICU's institutions is equal to approximately 3.2 percent of the total Gross State Product of North Carolina, and is equivalent to creating 219,590 new jobs.

The full report and NCICU sector report are available at: www.ncicu.org/economic-impact-2015. The study was funded by the North Carolina Business Higher Ed Foundation, the NC Community Colleges Foundation, the University of North Carolina system, and NCICU campuses, including Davidson College.

More Info

View a recent analysis (PDF) of the impact of Davidson on the economy of North Carolina and the benefits generated by the college for students, North Carolina as a whole, and taxpayers. Results of the analysis reflect student and financial data for the 2012-13 Fiscal Year.