It’s no surprise that a large university reports a significant economic impact from its services. But because the topic is easy to ignore, the numbers from a recent University of Southern Mississippi study are worth repeating.
A study by USM’s Center for Economic Development and Entrepreneurship, the results of which have been verified by an independent economics firm, found that the university’s economic impact is now $ 663 million per year . That’s a 10% increase from the last study five years ago.
The new study looked at USM’s activity from 2017 to 2019. It reported that the university generated $ 34 million per year in tax revenue, while the annual output from student and employee spending was 565. millions of dollars.
A press release from USM contained a lot of positive information about the school: it creates and supports 7,437 jobs in the state. And the track and field program had an impact of $ 41 million, up from $ 31 million in the latest study.
But two other elements deserve special attention.
USM operations on the Gulf Coast are expanding rapidly. In the past five years, the university has opened three buildings on the coast, representing an investment of $ 36 million. Two more buildings and a research vessel are expected to be completed in the near future.
In addition, many USM students stick around. The report estimates that 60% of college graduates stay in Mississippi. For a state whose census figures indicate a problem keeping young residents educated here rather than in Houston, Dallas and Atlanta, that’s a positive sign.
The USM report naturally does not include similar research from other Mississippi universities. But odds are they bring success stories as well, especially Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and Jackson State, all of which are the same size as USM. It is a good reminder that substantial state investment in education at all levels pays off in many ways.
– Jack Ryan, Enterprise-Journal