Rogers State University provides an annual economic impact of more than $93 million and provides among the highest returns on investment among Oklahoma’s regional universities, according to a recently released economic impact study released by the State Chamber of Oklahoma.
The State Chamber Research Foundation found that RSU generated $55.5 million in direct expenditures, which supported about $93.4 million in total economic impact in the communities it serves.
According to the study, RSU had the fourth highest ratio of economic output to appropriations at 7.6, meaning that every dollar Oklahomans invested in RSU’s state appropriations provided a return on investment of $7.60. This high output of economic impact comes despite RSU having the eighth lowest state appropriation among Oklahoma regional universities and the second lowest per student appropriation.
“We have long known that RSU is an economic development engine for the communities we serve,” said RSU President Dr. Larry Rice. “This report clearly demonstrates that RSU is an effective investment in terms of economic impact. Even though we receive one of the smallest state appropriations among the regional universities, we provide a higher return on investment many of our peers. State dollars invested in RSU are paying good dividends both to our communities and to the state of Oklahoma.”
The report, entitled “The Economic Role of Oklahoma’s Public Colleges and Universities,” examined the economic output and impact Oklahoma’s public colleges and universities, finding that Oklahoma’s higher education system supported $8.21 billion of total economic output in FY2016. The report looked at direct and indirect impacts from employment and operational expenditures, as well as the induced effect that represents the additional impact of spending of employees and suppliers attributed to university-related expenditures.
“Oklahoma’s public colleges and universities serve as an anchor in their cities, towns and regions as they contribute to the stability of their communities,” said Dr. Jennifer Lepard, State Chamber Research Foundation Executive Director. “The study shows what we’ve known to be true for a while—increased higher education is an underlying source of economic growth, both in the U.S. and internationally.”
State Chamber of Oklahoma President and CEO Fred Morgan said the impact of Oklahoma’s colleges and universities goes far beyond campus boundaries.
“Oklahoma’s colleges and universities drive local economies and serve as important employers in cities and our state,” he said. “As we strive to make Oklahoma a top 10 business-friendly state, we are thankful to have them as a vital part of our state’s business community as we work to further Oklahoma’s goals of preparing a modern workforce for the jobs of tomorrow.”
At RSU, thousands of commuter students travel daily to its campuses in Claremore, Pryor and Bartlesville. This is in addition to the nearly 800 students who live on the main Claremore campus.
“These are students who are supporting both mom-and-pop shops and national chains as they eat at area restaurants, see movies at local theaters, buy gas at the convenience store down the street, get their oil changed, or any number of activities that support our local economies,” Rice said. “We see the results of this economic impact on a daily basis through our faculty and staff who live and work in the communities we serve.”
Since becoming a four-year university in 1999, RSU has awarded more than 8,000 academic degrees. RSU’s most recent alumni surveys show that most students alumni graduated from RSU with a job in hand or were gainfully employed shortly after graduation. RSU’s alumni surveys also are consistent with state results that show the majority of Oklahoma college graduates stay in the state after earning their college diploma.
RSU is Claremore’s third largest employer after Baker Hughes and Claremore Public Schools.