Michigan’s 15 public universities are making a significant economic impact in communities across the state. An Anderson Economic Group study shows that the state’s public universities are responsible for more than 120,000 jobs and, with spending and earnings, account for nearly $24 billion in economic activity.
AEG’s study, commissioned by the Presidents Council, State Universities of Michigan, was released this week at a Tuesday, Dec. 10 press conference in Lansing. Findings in the study show the state’s 15 public universities as key employers and economic drivers in Michigan.
“Ferris State University is a significant driver for Michigan’s economy, not only in Big Rapids, but also in Grand Rapids and at our 17 other locations across the state,” Ferris President David Eisler said.
The university’s impact in Big Rapids, Mecosta County and statewide is significant, according to the study. The university’s total payroll spending accounted for $150 million, including 92 percent, or $137 million, in Michigan. As Mecosta County’s largest employer, Ferris employs more than 1,400 people, according to the Mecosta County Development Corporation. The university’s non-payroll state spending is more than $45 million. Non-payroll spending includes instruction and academic support, athletics, construction, research and public service.
Ferris students spend more than $210 million in Michigan on room and board, off-campus living and food, books and school supplies, clothing, entertainment and more.
The state’s public universities collectively supported more than $12 billion in earnings in Michigan, according to AEG’s report. Further noted in the findings were that the 1.3 million alumni living in the state earned $47 billion in wages and salaries in 2012. The public universities educate more than 300,000 students, to rank Michigan sixth, nationally, in spite of the state ranking ninth in population. Enrollment at the public universities grew by five percent from 2003 to 2012 and annual degree completions increased by 13 percent – 16 percent for bachelor degree completion.
“Michigan’s universities are partners with local businesses in so many ways,” said Michael A. Boulus, executive director of PCSUM. “We hope this report will remind lawmakers that investing in higher education is investing in the state’s economy.”
AEG’s study illustrated that, worldwide, Michigan public universities have 2.1 million living alumni, including 1.3 million in Michigan – 18 percent of the state’s population age 22 and over.
The report includes a county-by-county breakdown of economic activity in the state.