Study: ICUF schools create 100,900 jobs, have $15.7B economic impact

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ICUF schools also generate $1.1 billion in state and local tax revenues.

A new economic impact study released this week that Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida institutions create 100,900 jobs and contribute $15.7 billion to the state’s economy.

The study, conducted by The Regional Economic Consulting Group, also found that ICUF schools generate $1.1 billion in state and local tax revenues.

“The 30 institutions that make up the independent, nonprofit sector of higher education are already well known as engines of opportunity for students seeking to earn their college and post-graduate degrees,” said Bob Boyd, president and CEO of ICUF.

“The results of this study quantify ICUF’s broader contributions to our economy. With more than 100,000 jobs created and $15.7 billion in annual economic impact, it’s clear that ICUF schools power Florida’s economy.”

There were 157,694 students enrolled in ICUF institutions during the 2019-20 academic year. A majority — or 112,490 students — were undergraduates, while 45,204 were pursuing post-graduate degrees. ICUF institutions awarded 39,396 degrees during the 2019-20 school year.

The REC Group study found that ICUF students pump $891 million into Florida communities and businesses during their time in school. Further, every class of ICUF students adds $21 billion to Florida’s economy during the 30 years that follow graduation based on lifetime earnings for graduates who remain in Florida.

More than 46,000 students at ICUF schools depend on EASE, which stands for Effective Access to Student Education. EASE is a voucher funded by the Legislature to help students who are Florida residents pay their tuition at nonprofit, independent colleges and universities.

“The EASE voucher is critical to this sector of the economy because students depend on EASE to pay for tuition,” Boyd said. “The study reveals that EASE is more than a voucher for tuition, but it’s an investment that yields an impressive return for our state.”

At its current value — $2,841 per student during the 2019-20 academic year — EASE created 21,934 jobs and contributed $3.5 billion in annual economic impact in Florida. The vouchers also generated $282 million in state and local tax revenues. The calculated return on investment for EASE vouchers is $2.50 for every dollar the state invests in the program.

“The impact of ICUF institutions on our state’s economy is impressive,” said Dr. Clyde Diao, Ph.D., who founded The REC Group. “With a statewide presence, ICUF schools touch every community, creating jobs and contributing to our local and state economy.”

The study was conducted by the REC Group from October 12, 2021, to January 10, 2022. The REC Group surveyed all 30 ICUF institutions to gather primary data on operating costs, capital expenditures, student-associated expenditures, graduation information and the EASE program. The survey received a 100% response rate. The study also used data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System for consistency.

The economic study involves two phases: static and dynamic.

The static phase determines the direct operating and capital expenditures by the ICUF institutions, the total cost of attendance by students broken down into different expense categories, and the differential earnings of new graduates.

The dynamic phase involves using the total direct expenditures by the institutions and students as inputs to IMPLAN modeling to determine the direct, indirect, and induced impacts on the economy.

The results include effects on employment, labor income, GDP, economic output and tax revenues. The study analyzed the economic impact of the graduates’ lifetime earnings for 30 years and examined the effects of EASE funding on Florida’s economy and its return on investment.

The full study and a fact sheet detailing the findings are available online.

Staff Reports

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