Brought To You By NSU; Written by Leah Jackson

An economic impact study has placed Northwestern State University’s economic value at $519.7 million in income and determined that the school supported 7,204 jobs in northwest and central Louisiana during fiscal year 2021-22.   

The findings were reported by Lightcast, an independent labor market analytics firm. 

“Results of this study highlight the return on investment the university creates for students, for taxpayers and for society,” said NSU President Dr. Marcus Jones. “NSU supports economic development through education, workforce development and improved quality of life for residents of northwest and central Louisiana and around the state.”   

According to the study, as a primary source of higher education in region, Northwestern State supplies trained workers and enhances overall productivity in the regional workforce. The university promotes economic growth through direct expenditures by visitors, students and regional businesses and as an employer and buyer of goods and services for its day-to-day operations.  Numerous spin-off companies have formed as a result of knowledge and innovation at NSU. Activities at the university attract students and visitors from outside northwest and central Louisiana whose expenditures benefit regional vendors. NSU students and employees volunteer in the community to help businesses and organizations grow.  

            Financial impacts are broken down as follows.  

  • $75 million in operations spending
  • $104.3 million in spin-off company impact
  • $11.8 million in visitor spending
  • $10.1 in student spending
  • $7 million in volunteerism
  • $311.6 million alumni impact

Put in context, the $519.7 million impact was equal to approximately 1.5 percent of the total gross regional product (GRP) of northwest and central Louisiana. The study finds that NSU supported one out of every 53 jobs.  

NSU’s FY 2021-22 students paid a present value of $70.4 million to cover the cost of tuition, fees, supplies, and interest on student loans. In return for their investment, students will receive a cumulative present value of $860.7 million in increased earnings over their working lives. This translates to a return of $5.10 in higher future earnings for every dollar students invest in their education.  

From a taxpayer perspective, NSU generates more in tax revenue than it receives. For every dollar of public money invested in NSU, taxpayers will receive a cumulative value of $2.40 over the course of the students’ working lives. By the end of the FY 2021-22 students’ working lives, the state government will have collected a present value of $50.7 million in added taxes. 

Visitors attracted to Louisiana for activities at NSU brought new dollars to the economy through spending at hotels, restaurants, gas stations and other businesses.  That spending added approximately $11.8 million in income to the regional economy, the equivalent of 278 jobs.  

Louisiana as a whole benefits from Northwestern State in two ways, the study finds. First, the higher economic base attributed to the added income from students’ increased lifetime earnings raises economic prosperity.  Second, savings generated by improved lifestyles include avoided medical costs, justice system savings and reduced welfare and unemployment claims.  

Jones said findings from the study will be important to stakeholders, legislators, industry partners and organizations focused on economic and workforce development in illustrating how the university creates conditions for economic prosperity.  

“Data from this impact study underlines the value of Northwestern on an individual level, the community level and state level,” Jones said. “It is critical that we use the information to continue to be proactive in engagement and market responsiveness, good stewards of our assets and strategic in economic development initiatives.”  

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