Study: Radford University generates $1 billion annually and 8,400 jobs statewide

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RADFORD, Va. (WDBJ7) Colleges and Universities in Virginia supply the Commonwealth's workforce, but how much is that really worth?

According to Radford University, the school generates more than $1 billion every year and supports more than 8,400 jobs state-wide.

In the New River and Roanoke Valleys, the university has a $475.2 million impact and supports 4,176 jobs.

Regionally, Radford University contributed more than $313 million, supporting 2,845 jobs, according to the study commissioned by the university and prepared by the New River Valley Regional Commission. Radford University’s regional economic impact extends across both the New River and Roanoke valleys, composed of Botetourt, Floyd, Franklin, Giles, Montgomery, Pulaski, Roanoke and Wythe counties, as well as the cities of Radford, Roanoke and Salem. When combined with the induced impact of alumni, the regional total impact is $475.2 million, supporting a total of 4,176 jobs.

According to the analysis, Radford University’s impact of $313 million upon these areas reflects an increase of almost 40 percent since 2010.

This is all according to a study into fiscal years 2009-2016.

Vice President for University Relations Joe Carpenter explained, "We looked at university spending, salaries, our expenditures, we modeled and did surveys of spending by our students and faculty and staff."

The school combined all that with how much more than $70,000 alumni bring in thanks to their education at Radford.

Jeff Price, a Partner at Price-Williams Realty recalled from his days at Radford, "It just gave me confidence, experience, and I was in the Business Department. It enabled me to confident and I started building apartments when I was in college."

Price, a 1984 RU graduate, is celebrating 30 years in business this year.

He's developed 400 apartments and several business spaces all around Radford University.

He said he's not surprised at all by this new study.

"When you look at the total economic impact of Radford University, it's really a little underestimated, I think it's a great university," he said.

Just like 93 percent of Radford students, Price is from the state. But not all of them stay in Radford.

Price said, "These students go back and they have a big part in new business start ups all over Virginia, so I think it's a huge impact."

The university said this study will help their future plans of continuing to grow Virginia and the school as a whole.

Carpenter said, "This is good data to help us to know what we've already known, and that is that Radford University is very much a part of Virginia and that is part of our mission to serve the Commonwealth of Virginia."

As a state school Radford gets more than $47 million from the Virginia General Fund, which is made up mostly of tax dollars. What's interesting is that according to this study for every dollar invested, there's a $10 return regionally and $22 return state-wide.

Economic impact is measured by the initial spending of the institution for operations and personnel as well as student spending. The total economic impact includes the effect of initial spending and the secondary or indirect and induced spending that occurs when initial expenditures are re-spent. The Radford University economic impact study measured both direct economic impact – money spent by the institution itself – and indirect impact, or the re-spending of dollars within the local economy by the university community, alumni and affiliated businesses and households.

Among other significant findings:

- Radford University supports 2,845 jobs in the region and 3,221 statewide based on its direct and indirect spending.

- Regionally, Radford University alumni earnings totaled more than $232.3 million in 2016 to produce over $162 million in sales at local businesses and support 1,331 regional jobs.

- Across Virginia, Radford University alumni earned an estimated $787.8 million to produce $695 million in sales and support more than 5,200 jobs.

- $272 million was spent on campus construction and renovation projects. Virginia businesses received more than 80 percent of these contractual agreements.

- On average, 86 percent ($47.3 million) of student spending occurs in the New River and Roanoke valleys, slightly more than half of which occurs within the City of Radford.

- Visitors to Radford University bring an additional $4.5 million in spending to the region.

A copy of the full "Radford University Economic Impact Study 2016" can be found under the Related Links section of this article.