Kansas independent colleges are a boon to the Kansas economy

By Kansas Independent College Association
July 23, 2014

According to a new study, Kansas’s eighteen private colleges generate $980.1 million in new income each year for the Kansas economy.  The economic impact of the colleges is sufficient to create 21,968 new jobs in Kansas every year and generate $2.8 billion in social benefits to the state through increased business output and improvements in health and public safety that accrue from the graduates of Kansas’ private colleges.

The new study, “Demonstrating the Economic Value of the Kansas Independent Colleges and Universities,” specifically analyzes the contributions to the Kansas economy by the private colleges that would not otherwise occur if the colleges did not exist.  The report’s findings show that the colleges’ impact on Kansas’ economy is nearly equivalent to Kansas hosting the NFL Super Bowl nine times each year.

“We have always known that Kansas’ independent colleges were important to the Kansas economy,” said Matt Lindsey, president of the Kansas Independent College Association and Fund which commissioned the study.  “This study demonstrates just how truly powerful the contribution is that our students, faculty, and institutions make and how essential Kansas’ independent colleges are to Kansas’ future.”

Besides the 21,968 jobs that the colleges’ activities could generate, the colleges themselves employ 4,390 faculty and staff in Kansas, making the colleges collectively the seventh largest non-governmental employer based in the state.  KICA colleges receive zero institutional funds from the state budget, thus nearly all of the colleges’ operating budgets are privately funded.

Other highlights of the study include:

Kansas’ private colleges gave nearly $120 million in privately-funded student aid to college students, making the colleges collectively the single largest charitable organization in Kansas.

Kansas private colleges enroll more than 10,500 out-of-state students each year, more out-of-state students to Kansas than any other college or the university in the state.

261,500 visitors come to Kansas’ independent colleges each year on average and generate $14.1 million in income to the state.  The number of visitors is nearly 90,000 more than the number of visitors who come to Kansas for hunting, fishing, and wildlife watching combined.

“Our policy makers in Topeka and in cities and towns would have to recruit a several major corporations every year to generate the income that our eighteen colleges add just through their operations,” noted Lindsey.  On top of that, Kansas and Kansas taxpayers benefits from a healthier, safer, and more productive and engaged citizenry to the tune of $2.8 billion.  That’s tough to top and suggests where our state’s real assets exist – in our private colleges.”

The report was commission by the Kansas Independent College Association (KICA) and the research was conducted by Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI).  The full report can be found at www.kscolleges.org/economic-impact.html.

The Kansas Independent College Association, founding in 1976, is a 501(c)4 organization that works to provide support and services to the independent colleges of the state.  The member institutions are Baker University, Benedictine College, Bethany College, Bethel College, Central Christian College, Donnelly College, Friends University, Hesston College, Kansas Wesleyan University, McPherson College, Manhattan Christian College, MidAmerica Nazarene University, Newman University, Ottawa University, Southwestern College, Sterling College, Tabor College, and the University of St. Mary.