FGCU Announces Economic Impact
FORT MYERS, FL - Florida Gulf Coast University contributed one quarter of a billion dollars in expenditures to Southwest Florida's economy last year according to a study conducted by
Gary Jackson, director of the Regional Economic Research Institute in the Lutgert College of Business.
The study found that the overall economic impact in the five-county service area (Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee) for fiscal year 2005-2006 was $241 million in overall expenditures, 2,586 jobs created, and $103 million in labor income.
The study estimated the direct and indirect economic impact of the University on the Southwest Florida region and its five-county service area. The model used to conduct the analysis is IMPLAN, an input/output economic model that provides estimates of direct, indirect and induced economic impacts.
The analysis revealed that FGCU has experienced tremendous growth in its student body and infrastructure since opening its doors 10 years ago. Student enrollment rose to almost 8,400 students in fall 2006. It is projected that this growth will more than double by academic year 2012-2013. The employees and infrastructure required to support that growth are responsible for the substantial economic impact on the region.
According to the study, fiscal year 2005-2006 University expenditures for salaries and benefits of almost $55 million accounted for 56 percent of the total university operating expenditures of almost $99 million. FGCU employed 1,574 including faculty, staff, students, and temporary workers and provides an average full-time salary of $48,000 per position including benefits, which is substantially above the average for the local economy.
In 2005-06, FGCU spent $22 million on a library addition, a new academic building and infrastructure. The expenditures for new capital projects including classrooms, roads, student residences, and support facilities are a key element in allowing the University to meet the increased demands as the student population grows.
The study reports that student expenditures also contributed to the economy. Combining the number of students who come to the area for college and those who stay in the area, it is estimated that they add about $32.6 million to the economy through their purchases of food, housing, clothing, transportation, health care and entertainment.
"Students who earn degrees gain more career options, better promotional opportunities, higher earnings and fill community needs for highly skilled employees in our area," Jackson said. A 2005 U.S. Census study quoted in the University study found that the median income of a
person with a bachelor's degree was $40,166 while that of a high school graduate was only $21,079.
The University and student spending benefited a wide range of businesses creating additional employment in our area. Approximately 150 different business types benefited from the expenditures creating additional employment in the community including those in real estate, food and beverage services, healthcare providers, construction, retail stores, performing arts, dry cleaning, laundry services and more.
The overall operating and capital expenditures by the university combined with the additional expenditures of the students results in a direct regional expenditure of $142 million and a total overall expenditure impact of $241 million. The study found that, on average, each dollar spent by the University results in an additional 70 cents of expenditures in the Southwest Florida region.
For more information, media representatives should contact Jackson at (239) 590-7319.