$1.9 Billion Industry in Higher Education

Article excerpt

Oklahoma higher education is a $1.9 billion industry that creates 82,148 direct and indirect jobs and generates $109.1 million in annual state tax revenues.

Those were economic impact figures presented Wednesday to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education by economists from Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma. The report, which was presented in a meeting of the regents in the Blue Room at the State Capitol, culminated an economic impact study commissioned by the regents.

Findings of the report came on the heels of Monday's state of the state address in which Gov. Frank Keating said he wants to cut funding to the state higher education regents by $13.8 million for the coming fiscal year.

The economic impact study also cited the significance of all levels of higher education on the earning capability of graduates from Oklahoma's 12 four-year state colleges, 13 two-year state colleges, two technical branches and four other higher education centers.

The 82,148 jobs created by the state system of higher education accounted for 6.7 percent of all jobs in Oklahoma in 1993, year on which the economic impact statistics were based, said Kent W. Olson, professor of economics at the OSU College of Business Administration.

Higher education also has an export industry annual value of $306.9 million that accounts for 13,217 jobs, or 16 percent of all jobs it creates, he said.

Value of the higher education export industry was derived from the combination of $145.8 million expended by nonresident students and $161.1 million in federal payments for research and student aid. State colleges and universities received $227 million of that amount directly, amounting to 39.5 percent of their appropriations, Olson said.

Income created by Oklahoma higher education was $774 million direct and $577.7 million indirect from the institutions; $289.1 million direct and $214 million indirect from students; and $52.2 million direct and $38.6 million indirect from visitors to state campuses to reach the $1.9 billion total impact, Olson said.

The $1.9 billion income created by higher education amounted to 3.7 percent of all Oklahoma's $52.8 billion personal income during the 1992-93 college year, the study showed.

Higher education institutions in 1992-93 spent $766.5 million for salaries, wages and benefits. Students spent $289.1 million off campus for housing, food, transportation and related living expenses that year.

The economists concluded that, adding the economic multiplier factor, the institutions and students generated another $781. …