Economic Impact Locally Estimated At $3.7 Billion For 2011, Up $1.7 Billion For Decade
COLLEGE STATION — The economic impact of Texas A&M University and other members of The Texas A&M University System based locally is estimated to have been $3.76 billion during 2011, slightly more than for the previous year even though the number of employees and size of the institutional payrolls declined as the result of state-mandated budget reductions. However, from the perspective of progress over the past decade (2001-2011), the total Texas A&M local economic impact increased by almost $1.7 billion, or more than 85 percent.
Major factors in Texas A&M having another record year in its involvement in pumping money into the local economy were increases in expenditures by students and by visitors attending sporting events and other campus activities.
Those findings highlight an in-house study conducted by Texas A&M’s Division of Finance upon the request of President R. Bowen Loftin.
Texas A&M and other locally headquartered members of the A&M System had a direct impact of approximately $1.504 billion on College Station, Bryan and the surrounding area during 2011 — an increase of almost $10 million compared to 2010. With the application of the standard multiplier effect (2.5 times) — reflecting the number of times a dollar is spent and re-spent as it passes through the local economy — the total impact reaches the estimated $3.76 billion level, an increase of nearly $25 million.
“Even though we’ve had to adjust to decreased state support due to economic conditions throughout the state and nation, we have managed to keep Texas A&M moving forward, and we are pleased to be able to continue to contribute in a positive manner to Bryan-College Station community that we proudly call home,” Loftin said. “I am confident that sentiment is shared by our colleagues from the other A&M System entities headquartered here.”
Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp added, “Our goal in The Texas A&M University System is to consistently provide excellence in the services we offer to our stakeholders. While the economic outlook is difficult to predict, our focus on affordability should enable us to deliver positive returns and a net improvement in economic impact to the Bryan/College Station community.”
The annualized average payroll for the 22,397 Texas A&M and A&M System employees (including student employees) based locally was approximately $860.6 million, a decline about $25 million from the previous year’s estimates when payrolls covered 23,266 employees. Payrolls directly benefit the local economy through purchases made by Texas A&M and A&M System employees and their families as well as through other factors, including the deposit base in local financial institutions, officials noted.
The local economic impact of the Texas A&M's students — whose numbers increased by 732 over the fall 2010 level — was estimated to be $470.5 million, for an increase of slightly more than $6 million. Major categories for student expenditures include food and housing, clothing, school supplies and recreation.
The study showed that non-student participation at athletic and other entertainment venues, commencement exercises, continuing education programs and the George Bush Presidential Library increased by 3.79 percent to an estimated 1,109,625. When applying $104-per-day figure used by the Bryan-College Station Visitor and Convention Bureau (with the typical visitor staying in the community 1.5 days), campus visitors, including prospective students and their families, directly accounted for about $173 million going into the local economy, for a gain from a year ago of more than $28 million, the study shows.
Texas A&M and its related state agencies continue to rank first in the state in research investment. Research totals for Fiscal Year 2011 are not yet available, but the FY 2010 total credited to entities headquartered in Bryan/College Station, including the Health Science Center, totaled a record $689 million. Officials pointed out, however, that not all of the research funds are spent in the local area. However, a large portion of the research funding is applied to salaries and wages and thus is included in the payroll category.
Also, officials noted, in some cases research results lead to patents and licenses that have significant economic benefits that are not included in the local economic impact study.
Construction costs attributed to calendar year 2010 total about $263.6 million, a decline of approximately $10 million, attributable in part to the completion of work during the year on the multi-story buildings for the agriculture and engineering programs and the expansion and renovation of the YMCA Building. Officials noted campus construction projects provide many opportunities for regional employment and raw material sales that are not necessarily included in the university’s generalized study.
The study measures the economic impact of Texas A&M, as well as key aspects of A&M System members based in College Station, including the System Offices, the Texas A&M Health Science Center, and the System’s seven state agencies: Texas AgriLife Research, Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Texas Engineering Experiment Station, Texas Engineering Extension Service, Texas Forest Service, Texas Transportation Institute and Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory.
University officials within the Division of Finance pointed out the study is designed to highlight some of the regional economic activity resulting from the presence of Texas A&M, the A&M System headquarters and A&M System agency activities conducted locally. It does not purport to represent the sum total of their full impact on the region, and the study’s parameters and methodologies continue to be fine-tuned, they added.