Study: CSCU sys­tem adds $11.1B to state

The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT) - - NEWS - By Brian Zahn [email protected]­medi­act.com

Ac­cord­ing to an eco­nomic im­pact study com­mis­sioned by the Con­necti­cut State Col­leges and Uni­ver­si­ties sys­tem, the sys­tem con­trib­uted $11.1 bil­lion to the state’s an­nual in­come in 2016-17.

The Idaho-based eco­nomic mod­el­ing firm Emsi pre­sented its find­ings of the eco­nomic im­pact the CSCU sys­tem has on the state in a pre­sen­ta­tion to stake­hold­ers at Gate­way Com­mu­nity Col­lege in New Haven on Thurs­day.

“Ev­ery­one here to­day knows we de­liver real value to the state of Con­necti­cut, but we also know we have to be re­spon­si­ble stew­ards to those who in­vested in us,” said sys­tem Pres­i­dent Mark Ojakian. “We needed an anal­y­sis to tell the story.”

Ojakian, a for­mer chief of staff to the outgoing Gov. Dan­nel Mal­loy, has been pres­i­dent of the sys­tem since 2015. He said he hopes an anal­y­sis will be use­ful to the Gen­eral Assem­bly and Gov.elect Ned La­mont as they fo­cus on ap­pro­pri­a­tions in the fu­ture.

Han­nah Ruf­fridge, as­sis­tant di­rec­tor of con­sult­ing for higher ed­u­ca­tion with Emsi, said in 2016-17 the state’s gross prod­uct was $273 bil­lion, mak­ing the $11.1 bil­lion con­trib­uted to the state nearly 4.1 per­cent of the gross state prod­uct for that year.

She said that, “through the mul­ti­plier ef­fect,” about one in 19 jobs in Con­necti­cut is sup­ported by the four uni­ver­si­ties and 13 col­leges in the CSCU sys­tem, which in­cludes ev­ery pub­lic school ex­cept for the Univer­sity of Con­necti­cut.

As far as re­turn on in­vest­ment goes, Ruf­fridge said, stu­dents could ex­pect to re­cieve an av­er­age of $6.60 in life­time earn­ings for ev­ery dol­lar in­vested in the CSCU sys­tem; for ev­ery tax dol­lar in­vested in the sys­tem, she said, tax­pay­ers earn $3.80 in value back.

“I think the tax­payer per­spec­tive is in­creas­ingly im­por­tant,” Ojakian said, say­ing the study should demon­strate to the Gen­eral Assem­bly that the CSCU sys­tem is “a wor­thy in­vest­ment.”

Part of Emsi’s anal­y­sis re­lied on the pro­jec­tion that, with­out the CSCU sys­tem in place, 15 per­cent of the stu­dents in the sys­tem from 2016-17 would have re­ceived an ed­u­ca­tion else­where be­fore re­turn­ing to Con­necti­cut to con­trib­ute to its econ­omy.

“A lot of it comes down to prox­im­ity when it comes to com­mu­nity col­leges,” Ruf­fridge said.

Although Ruf­fridge re­ferred to Emsi as a “con­ser­va­tive” firm in how it cal­cu­lates its to­tals, other re­cent analy­ses by Emsi show that the CSCU sys­tem may not have as much of a lo­cal im­pact on the state as other higher ed­u­ca­tion sys­tems do rel­a­tive to their state economies.

Ac­cord­ing to the Day­ton Busi­ness Jour­nal, an Emsi eco­nomic im­pact study found that Ohio’s 14 four-year pub­lic uni­ver­si­ties con­trib­uted to 6.7 per­cent of the state’s gross state prod­uct and to one in 12 jobs. In New Jer­sey’s Union County, the Bridge­wa­ter Courier News re­ported, an Emsi eco­nomic im­pact study of Union County Col­lege found the school re­turned $8.40 for ev­ery dol­lar spent by tax­pay­ers in the county, $1.80 more per dol­lar than what CSCU of­fers to the state, per the analy­ses.

Ac­cord­ing to state Rep. Toni Walker, D-New Haven, chair­woman of the state ap­pro­pri­a­tions com­mit­tee, she sees the study as “a good way of ap­proach­ing this new year.”

“We have to look at this as we start to do our bud­get,” she said, adding that it will be im­por­tant for work­force train­ing to be aligned with avail­able jobs.

Ojakian

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