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October 24, 2008

ULM joins UL System in economic impact study

Utilizing faculty experts and staff, the University of Louisiana at Monroe will participate in a study that analyzes ULM’s impact on the economy and quality of life in Louisiana. The report, coordinated by Applied Research Technology Corporation of Baton Rouge, will incorporate ULM’s economic footprint and that of the other seven institutions in the University of Louisiana System. Results are expected by late spring.

ULM’s economic impact study committee, led by Richard Hood, executive assistant to the president, includes professors of Economics Robert Eisenstadt and Paul Nelson, who have considerable experience in conducting similar studies; Robin Logan, executive director of planning and analysis; and Priscilla Turner, special events assistant.

Of the report, ULM President James Cofer said, “We applaud the UL System for initiating this important study. ULM’s impact on Monroe—and the entire state of Louisiana—is considerable; we expect this analysis to illustrate the vast scope of ULM’s affect on this region.”

UL System President Randy Moffett said the studies are essential in showing the state’s return on its investment. “Over the past two years, the Legislature and public have generously supported Louisiana’s universities with additional funding. We owe it to them to continue our efforts to improve the quality of education on our campuses and to quantify our value in the most concrete terms possible,” Moffett said. “The total economic impact of our universities is difficult to measure, but with a system of eight universities that employs approximately 11,500 faculty and staff, educates more than 80,000 students, and produces the lion’s share of Louisiana’s graduates for key high-demand careers, we know the impact is significant.”

The studies will compile expenditures from a variety of sources (the university budget, faculty and staff, students, university visitors, university retirees, vendors and affiliated organizations) to compute an economic impact dollar figure that represents each university’s fiscal impact and contributions to the region and state. Based on a methodology established through a seminal study by the American Council on Education, the UL System studies will detail expenditures and use a multiplier to determine the total impact on each region and the state.

Further, it will determine each university’s influence on the region through its activities and programs and make a value-added assessment of what the university’s graduates contribute to the regional and statewide economy, as well as to society in general.

It will also incorporate the comments of stakeholders, such as business and industry leaders.

Similar studies have been commissioned by the University System of Georgia, California State System, the University of Maine System and the University of Texas System, as well as individual universities. In Louisiana, four UL System institutions—ULM, Northwestern State University, Southeastern Louisiana University, and UL Lafayette—have conducted their own economic impact studies over the years.

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