Writer: Joshua Andino
2 min read October 2021— A recent studyopens PDF file commissioned by the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities (NJASCU) has found that several schools provide a strong return on investment, to the tune of $6.1 billion in economic activity across the state, while also generating healthy tax revenues.
The schools in the study were Kean University, New Jersey City University, Ramapo College of New Jersey, Stockton University, The College of New Jersey, Thomas Edison State University, and William Paterson University, all affiliated with NJASCU. The study found the schools generate $219 million in tax revenue.
The report, conducted by Philadelphia-based Econsult Services, looked at four economic categories and their impact to arrive at the $6.1 billion figure: annual operations at $2.15 billion; capital investments at $211 million; ancillary spending at $840 million; and alumni wage premium, which the report defines “as the difference in earning potential between a degree attainment level and the next educational attainment level below it” and which totaled $2.89 billion. In all, the colleges support 36,000 jobs across the state.
In a conversation with Invest:, Thomas Edison State University President Merodie Hancock anticipated some of the report’s findings. “South Jersey really benefits from a holistic portfolio of higher education institutions — community colleges, four-years, medical schools, trade schools — it has something for every learner. And I think South Jersey benefits from this. When a region invests in its post-secondary infrastructure, the payoff is a stronger and more vibrant community.”
The report also highlights member institutions’ volunteerism and engagement in their local communities, including offering pop-up vaccination sites and testing, and providing additional human resources in larger-scale vaccination programs, with Brian K. Bridges, Ph.D., and Secretary of Higher Education for the State of New Jersey telling New Jersey Business Magazine, “COVID-19 has wrought historic economic and financial uncertainty on New Jersey’s higher education sector, but our institutions have embraced the unprecedented challenges before them and triumphed.”
He elaborated, stating: “This economic impact report is proof that our colleges and universities are engines of economic vitality that will help drive the state’s post-pandemic recovery while preparing students for lifelong success in a dynamically-shifting workforce.”
Altogether, the schools provide comprehensive coverage for a variety of learners and learning styles across the state. Kean University, New Jersey City University, Stockton University, The College of New Jersey, and William Paterson University are all public universities offering a variety of colleges and distinct programs; Ramapo College of New Jersey is one of the few public liberal arts colleges in the U.S., and Thomas Edison State University provides the majority of its courses online for adult learners and continuing education.