McPherson College 7th Largest Employer in McPherson; Part of Nearly $1 Billion That Independent Colleges Contribute to Kansas

By McPherson College
August 13, 2014

Independent colleges in Kansas contribute about the same to the state’s economy every year as would hosting the Super Bowl… nine times.

As one of the 18 colleges in the Kansas Independent College Association, McPherson College plays an essential part the $980.1 million the colleges create in Kansas annually.

And on the local level, MC plays an essential role in the economy of McPherson as the 7th largest employer in the city, according to the McPherson Chamber of Commerce.

Jennifer Burch, executive director of the chamber, said that the economic effect of McPherson College goes far beyond the incomes of its faculty and staff. The benefits of MC to the community includes spending by about 600 students enrolled at the college every year, the children of MC employees attending local public schools and the benefits of MC alumni who choose to live and work in McPherson following graduation.

“It goes so far beyond the campus,” Burch said. “It goes into the community with families and children.”

The substantial benefits of private colleges to the state economy was part of a recent study commissioned by the KICA that specifically looked at benefits generated by Kansas independent colleges that would not otherwise occur if they did not exist.

“We are proud to be an independent college in Kansas and to have the opportunity to contribute so much to our community and to Kansas,” said Michael Schneider, president of McPherson College. “We’ve always known that McPherson College as well as independent colleges across the state were important. Having this study to show exactly how critical we are to Kansas is a big deal.”

Other findings of the study include:

Independent colleges generate income sufficient to create 21,968 new jobs in Kansas every year.

An average of 261,500 visitors come to Kansas independent colleges each year, generating $14.1 million in income to the state.  That’s about 90,000 more visitors than those who come to Kansas for hunting, fishing and wildlife watching combined.

Kansas independent colleges employ 4,390 faculty and staff, making them the seventh largest non-governmental Kansas-based employer. McPherson College employed 163 faculty and staff in the study period.  

Independent colleges in Kansas generate $2.8 billion in social benefits to the state through increased business output and improvements in health and public safety generated by their alumni. More than 880 McPherson College alumni still live in McPherson County, supporting the community and local economy. Select 33 McPherson County residents at random, and at least one should be an MC alumnus.

Private colleges in Kansas give about $120 million in privately funded student aid to college students, making the colleges collectively the single largest charitable organization in Kansas. McPherson College gave $6.3 million in institutional financial aid to its students for the study period.

In operational expenses alone, Kansas independent colleges spend $181 million per year. McPherson College spends about $15 million annually on its operational budget – about 8 percent of the total in the KICA.

Kansas private colleges enroll about 10,600 out-of-state students each year, bringing more out-of-state students to Kansas together than any other single college or the university in the state. McPherson College enrolled 284 out-of-state students - about half of its student body.

“Our policy makers in Topeka and in cities and towns would have to recruit several major corporations every year to generate the income that our eighteen colleges add just through their operations,” said Matt Lindsey, president of the Kansas Independent College Association. “On top of that, Kansas and Kansas taxpayers benefit 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.”

Economic Modeling Specialists International conducted the research under commission of the KICA. The full report is at