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Feb. 23, 2015

CSU aids local economy

By Melanie MorrisCleveland city

Cleveland State University contributed $679 million and 6,739 jobs to the economy during the 2013-2014 academic year, according to a study Cleveland State researchers recently published.

The study took about four months to complete and was the most recent report published since 2001. Candi Clouse, Ziona Austrian and Serena Alexander in the College of Urban Affairs’ Center for Economic Development quantified the economic impact from spending by the university, students and visitors.

Cleveland State received $65 million in state funding this past year. The household income generated by Cleveland State in Greater Cleveland was $308 million – a fivefold return. The increase in gross domestic product (GDP) for the Cleveland metropolitan area because of the university’s operation was $463 million – a sevenfold return.

“State funding should be important to students,” Urban Studies Professor William Bowen said. “The most important thing for students in any university is a really high quality curriculum, but it costs a lot of money to create and deliver.”

Capital spending on construction at Cleveland State from 2009 to 2013 also resulted in an additional 1,945 jobs created and $286 million in total output impact.

The facts and figures are seemingly endless, but the underlying message beyond the numbers holds real value for Cleveland State.

“The study illustrates that CSU is generating significant economic activity by attracting undergraduate and graduate students to Greater Cleveland, as well as providing a high quality, affordable option for local residents pursuing a degree,” Clouse, program manager of the center, said.

The five-county Cleveland metropolitan area assessed in the study includes Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain and Medina counties. The study measured the economic impact in five categories: employment, labor income, value added, output and taxes.

Many factors contribute to the university’s economic impact. According to Bowen, the biggest single determinants are the size and structure of the budget. The structure is based on how much of the university’s total expenditures are spent locally and how much are spent nationally.

Clouse said that these buy-sell relationships that are needed to purchase goods and services in order for the university to operate are what contributes to the economic impact.

The improvements seen around campus also have a visible and economic influence on the neighborhood.

“In addition to creating an impact on the regional economy, CSU has generated new demand for housing, retail and other services in downtown Cleveland,” Austrian, director of the center, said. “The increased street-level activity around campus has provided a major boost to the city’s image.”

The results of this study show promise and improvement for Cleveland State and highlight the university’s investments.

“This progress has increased CSU’s role as a community anchor contributing to Cleveland’s renaissance,” President Ronald Berkman said in the introduction of the summary report. “We encourage you to stay engaged with us as we create a best-in-class urban university, and a destination for learning, discovery and progress.”