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Report finds WV’s public higher education institutions have $2.7 billion impact on state

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Report finds WV’s public higher education institutions have $2.7 billion impact on state
By Carrie Hodousek , WV MetroNews

The state Higher Education Policy Commission hopes the $2.7 billion impact that West Virginia’s colleges and universities have on the state’s economy will prevent budget cuts to higher education.

“Rather than just to say ‘hey, we can save a lot of money by closing or consolidating certain institutions, you really need to also have an understanding of what kind of economic impact that’s going to have to those communities,” said Neal Holly, Vice Chancellor for Policy and Planning for the HEPC.

A report released last week by the WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research found that West Virginia’s 21 public institutions of higher education contributed over $2 billion to the state in 2014. The study was commissioned by the HEPC.

According to the report, West Virginia’s 12 four-year institutions and nine two-year institutions supported 22,000 jobs. Compensation in supporting those jobs was reported at $1.4 billion. That activity generated more than $60 million in tax revenue for the state.

Holly said when combined with tuition, student spending and other sources of revenue, the economic impact of the institutions was nearly seven times the amount of the state’s appropriation for the schools.

Holly called the report “a good tool” to see the scope of all contributions to each community.

“It’s feedback for us, the institutions and for the community,” Holly said. “It’s feedback for other stake holders, whether it’s employers, folks outside of the state that are maybe looking to relocate businesses here.”

Even smaller institutions can still have an economic impact, Holly said.

“In a small, isolated community where that small institution is located, that’s the economic driver for that community,” she said.

The economic impact West Virginia’s four-year institutions is as follows:

  • WVU-Main Campus: $1.4 billion
  • Marshall University: $397.7 million
  • Shepherd University: $91.1 million
  • Fairmont State University: $82.6 million
  • WV State University: $75.2 million
  • WV School of Osteopathic Medicine: $64.6 million
  • Concord University: $56.6 million
  • West Liberty University: $50.2 million
  • Bluefield State College: $33.7 million college
  • WVU Institute of Technology: $29.5 million
  • Glenville State College: $27.9 million
  • Potomac State College: $27.9 million college

WVU produced the most significant impact of any four-year institution based upon state investment, with a ratio of $7.50 for every dollar invested by the state.

The economic impact of West Virginia’s two-year institutions is as follows:

  • Pierpont Community and Technical College: $33.9 million
  • West Virginia University at Parkersburg: $33.3 million
  • New River Community and Technical College: $30.6 million
  • BridgeValley Community and Technical College: $30.1 million
  • Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College: $24.7 million
  • Mountwest Community and Technical College: $21.7 million
  • West Virginia Northern Community College: $21.5 million
  • Blue Ridge Community and Technical College: $19.1 million
  • Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College: $5.6 million