Study Finds $63.5 Billion Added to NC Economy by Higher Education

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A new study, conducted by the Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI), found that in NC, $63.5 billion, or the equivalent to the creation of 1 million new jobs and 14.6% of the total gross state product, was generated as a result of higher education systems. The study notes that higher education is a good investment for taxpayers, and EMSI President Kjell Christophersen states, “The higher education institutions in the state of North Carolina put much more money back into the treasury as a result of their efforts than they take out.” Read more here or on the News & Observer site:

 — A new report says higher education as a whole in North Carolina had a $63.5 billion impact on the state’s economy in 2012-13.

The analysis is the first to measure the statewide impact of the UNC system, the state’s community colleges and the 36 private colleges in North Carolina. It was conducted by an Idaho-based firm, Economic Modeling Specialists International, commissioned by the private colleges and private funds from the public universities and the North Carolina Chamber.

Higher education leaders gathered in Research Triangle Park on Wednesday to tout the findings, as the legislative session and state budget process gets under way.

The $63.5 billion impact, which researchers said is a conservative estimate, is equivalent to the creation of 1 million new jobs and 14.6 percent of the total gross state product of North Carolina. That, said EMSI President Kjell Christophersen, is roughly equal to all of the manufacturing jobs in the state.

The study contends that higher education brings a healthy return for students and taxpayers in the form of elevated skills, jobs, research, medical care, spinoff companies, construction and spending by alumni and visitors. The formula also calculated taxpayer savings in the form of lower unemployment claims and lower smoking rates associated with higher levels of education.

State taxpayers invested $4.3 billion in higher education in 2012-13, the study said, generating a return of $17 billion on that investment.

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