Brock study estimates school’s economic impact
Brock University is worth almost a halfbillion dollars a year to Niagara.
The university’s Niagara Community Observatory focused its lens on itself in a new policy brief called The Brock Effect, published Wednesday.
The study determined the economic impact the university had on the region that surrounds it last year, conservatively estimating that its 19,000 students and nearly 5,000 faculty and staff, its $320 million in capital and operations spending, as well as the university’s visitors contributed as much as $450.3 million to Niagara’s economy.
“It really is something that should not only be celebrated by us, it should be celebrated by the entire community,” Brock University president Gervan Fearon said, while announcing the research conducted by geography and tourism professor Jeff Boggs and graduate student Lauren Peddle.
Although the study focused on the university’s value for money, he said the university’s economic contribution is only one component of its impact on the community. For instance, he said staff volunteers and student co-op placements are “making significant contributions throughout the region.”
Meanwhile, Fearon said the university’s place in Niagara helps draw “raw talent” to the region.
“Increasingly, the competitiveness of regions is driven by talent. And consequently, we’re part of the economic driver of the region. We’re an asset for the region, and that’s precisely the role that we’d like to keep playing,” he said.
Boggs said the research was conducted using two techniques for estimating economic impact, including both its direct and indirect impact on the community.
While the $450.3-million total was determined through a technique named for University of British Columbia professor Walter Sudmant, the second more conservative technique — the Canadian Input Output model — pegged the university’s total local economic impact at $257.4 million.
“In any case, it’s a fairly large chunk of change,” Boggs said.
In addition to the local impact, the study showed an Ontario-wide impact of $639.8 million using the Sudmant model, and $436.2 million using the Canadian Input/ Output model.
Boggs said almost all of Brock’s expenditures — about 96.3 per cent — are made within the province.
Brock University professor Jeff Boggs, with graduate student Lauren Peddle, discusses a report on the university's economic impact.