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20 May 2005

$325.4 Million Economic Impact: JSU Moves Region Forward

Dr. Bill Fielding

By Sherry Kughn
JSU News Bureau

During 2003-04, Jacksonville State University exerted a robust economic impact of $325.4 million on Calhoun and Etowah counties, according to the university's latest economic impact study. Spending by the university and its students, faculty, and staff totaled $132.8 million in 2004, which economists say translates into an impact of $325.4 million due to a ripple effect. Financial experts say JSU's spending has a multiplier effect of 2.45, which represents the number of times the money "turns over" in the local economy.

JSU President William A. Meehan said, "This report shows JSU is a strong economic engine that moves northeast Alabama forward. JSU provides a quality academic program that trains the region's workforce, but the institution also does much more: it fuels the entire local economy because it supplies a significant payroll and attracts students who spend."

Dr. William T. Fielding, dean of the College of Commerce and Business Administration, oversaw the latest study, which updated the original study conducted in 1985-86. Included in the total figure of $132.8 million was an impact on county and city governments of $14.8 million by JSU's students, faculty, and staff in money spent on real estate taxes, sales taxes, and other spending. Also included was a $143 million influence on area financial institutions, which are able to increase their lending ability because of the large reserves that JSU provides.

JSU’s impact on local business property was $58.5 million -- $32.2 million on real property and $26.3 million on local business inventories, all of which serves the university, the students, faculty, and staff.

JSU’s current student body numbers 8,930, its faculty and staff members number 861, and the university creates 7,091 indirect jobs, according to the study.

“These results are an understatement of the overall economic impact of JSU,” said Dr. Fielding. “Not included is the impact of JSU retirees who remain in the area, the several religious organizations that provide ministerial and other services to students, nor the visitors who attend the cultural and athletic events and purchase local goods and services.”

Also, not included in the study was the impact of the spending of employees related to the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) and the Sodexho food services.

Dr. Fielding thanked several people for assistance in the preparation of the study, which will be used in many ways by the university and other entities throughout the area. He thanked, Mr. Pat W. Shaddix, director of the Center for Economic Development (CED), Mr. Willard Butterworth, program coordinator of the CED and Business Research, Ms. Allyson Barker, comptroller of JSU, the superintendents of education and governmental officials, and the faculty, staff, and students at JSU who completed questionnaires for the study.

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