Loop Colleges Generate $4 Billion In Regional Economic Activity, Including $60 Million In Student Retail Buying, New Study Finds
Twenty-four higher education institutions in Chicago's Loop, through their employees, students and own expenditures, generate more than $4 billion in regional economic activity annually, including at least $60 million in student retail purchases, according to the 2009 Higher Education Economic Impact Report and Student Survey Update released Nov. 23.
(Media-Newswire.com) - Twenty-four higher education institutions in Chicagoís Loop, through their employees, students and own expenditures, generate more than $4 billion in regional economic activity annually, including at least $60 million in student retail purchases, according to the 2009 Higher Education Economic Impact Report and Student Survey Update released Nov. 23.
Commissioned by the Chicago Loop Alliance ( CLA ), with student survey data compiled by researchers at DePaul, the study shows that the Loopís higher education sector is a vital economic engine that contributes to the growth and overall health of the economy in the Chicago region. The findings update and expand upon research released by CLA last June and in 2004. Highlights include:
There are 65,499 students enrolled in higher education institutions in the Loop and South Loop, making the Loop the largest college town in Illinois. This number represents a 25 percent increase since 2005. The study found that these students spend about $266 million on goods and services, which results in a total of $580 million per year more spending in the regional economy. The students attend classes at institutions that together occupy nearly 8 million square feet of real estate Ė more than double the space of the Willis Tower ( formerly the Sears Tower ). Employees
The Loop institutions surveyed employ 15,000 higher education workers, collectively, making the Loop higher educational community one of the Chicago regionís top 25 employers. Universities and colleges in the Loop spend $467.4 million on wages and salaries and generate a further $571 million worth of production of goods and services. According to the report, the total economic output of these employees in the Chicago area is $1.4 billion. Goods and Services
Higher education institutions spend an additional $857.6 million on goods and services, ranging from office furniture and supplies to insurance and utilities. The total direct and indirect impact of institutionsí purchase of goods and services is a value of $2.1 billion for the Chicago region. Construction
Several Loop higher education institutions have undergone major capital expenditures on renovation and new construction projects. The study found these institutions spent $422 million on these projects in the last five years. The combined total impact on economic output was more than $1 billion, which translates to about $200 million per year on construction in the past five years. Events and Programs
Events and programs offered by just seven of these institutions drew a downtown audience of almost a half a million attendees during the 2008-2009 school year. After applying a ripple effect multiplier for the direct and indirect economic impact of such events and programs, the study determined that spending by attendees at these events results in $40 million more economic activity per year. The retail portion of the study conducted by DePaul Marketing Professors Sue Fogel and J. Steven Kelly, with assistance from Gerald W. McLaughlin, associate vice president of the Office of Institutional Planning and Research, and Fran Casey, director of Community Affairs at DePaul, conservatively estimated that students spend $60 million annually at a variety of store types in the Loop.
The most frequented establishments included fast food restaurants, bars and cafes, and drug stores. Students said they would most like to see more affordable restaurants in the Loop, as well as a cross-college student center and later hours for retailers. A grocery store was the most popular response to an open-ended question about what students could not find in the Loop that they would like to see.
"The students have told us what they want. Now, itís up to the business and higher education communities to respond," said Ty Tabing, executive director of CLA. "An economically healthy and prosperous downtown Chicago depends upon the students and employees of more than two dozen higher educational institutions in the Loop and South Loop."
CLA has been a leader in connecting the Loopís business, cultural and retail sectors to the growing higher education community through its LoopUChicago.com, an online community CLA created to provide a forum for businesses in the Loop to reach out to local students with special promotions, information about internships and jobs. The site provides a way for businesses to gain a better understanding of what students are looking for in their surroundings. By commissioning studies, CLA is able to regularly supply its members and other local organizations with information that is valuable to their success, Tabing said.
The Economic Impact Study examined how higher education institutions and their employees and students influence the regional economy through retail, real estate and general expenditures based on data from 24 higher education institutions located in the area bordered by branches of the Chicago River to the north and west, Lake Shore Drive to the east and Roosevelt Road. The institutions joined together to form a Work Group convened by CLA and DePaul. The study also includes a student survey component, which was administered to about 3,000 students in May 2009 by DePaulís Kellstadt Marketing Center of the College of Commerce to better profile studentsí lifestyles.
The analysis of data was provided by the Regional Economic Applications Laboratory ( REAL ) of the University of Illinois under the direction of Geoffrey J.D. Hewings. REAL analyzed the data collected by the Work Group to identify the economic impact of the Loop and South Loopís higher education sector on downtown Chicago and the Chicago region.
The economic impact study examined both direct and indirect outputs by higher education institutions and their students. The multipliers used to calculate the ripple effect of every dollar spent by an institution or student were based upon well-established models designed to quantify indirect economic activity. These indirect calculations are revealed throughout the report.
About Chicago Loop Alliance
The mission of Chicago Loop Alliance ( CLA ) is to strengthen the Loopís competitive position as a mixed-use destination and contribute to Chicagoís standing as a world-class city and tourist attraction. CLA supports and advances the interests of its members through advocacy, networking, partnerships and promotions. For more information, visit www.chicagoloopalliance.com.
About DePaul University
DePaul University is the nationís largest Catholic university, with over 25,000 students and about 275 degree programs. Its partnerships throughout Chicago enable DePaul to provide an exceptional educational experience that is vibrant, pragmatic and socially engaged. Classes are small and taught by knowledgeable and experienced faculty members who take full advantage of Chicagoís corporate, cultural and community resources. DePaul is nationally recognized for incorporating service learning throughout its curriculum and for the academic rigor and prominence of its programs. Founded in 1898 by the Congregation of the Mission ( Vincentians ), DePaulís tradition of providing a quality education to students from a broad range of backgrounds, with particular attention to first-generation students, has resulted in one of the nationís most diverse student bodies. For more information, visit depaul.edu.
Editorsí Note: For more information about the study or to arrange interviews with CLA or the studyís researchers, contact Liz Underwood, Kathy Schaeffer & Associates: ( 312 ) 251-5100 or email@example.com.
Robin Florzak firstname.lastname@example.org ( 312 ) 362-8592
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