A&M's Local Economic Impact

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Another year, another record level of annual economic impact on the Bryan-College Station area by Texas A&M University and other members of The Texas A&M University System based in Bryan-College Station. That's the $2.5 billion bottom-line 2005 result of an in-house study, announced Texas A&M President Robert M. Gates.

The estimated direct economic impact on the local area by the institutions last year was a record $1 billion, an increase of more than $67 million over the 2004 level, the study showed.

This marks at least the 12th consecutive year that the Texas A&M/A&M System economic impact has increased, officials note.

Direct economic impact takes on even greater proportions when a regional economic multiplier effect is applied, officials explain. The economic multiplier indicates the number of times each dollar is typically spent and re-spent before leaving the community.

When the multiplier is applied, the direct economic impact figure for Texas A&M and other system members based here transforms into an overall economic impact on the area of approximately $2.52 billion for 2005 - up more than $167.8 million.

"We are obviously pleased to continue to grow and expand in meaningful ways and delighted that our good fortune also benefits the economic well-being of the Bryan-College Station community, as well as the surrounding area and, indeed, the entire state," Gates said. "We think we have a 'win-win' partnership with the twin-city community and look forward to continuing to nurture our relationships with all segments - public and private."

Gates notes that the institution's economic growth alone - more than $67.1 million - has the economic equivalency of two new medium-size companies being established locally or moving to the Bryan-College Station area.

The university has reached about the midway point in its unprecedented faculty reinvestment program, which is intended to enhance the learning process at the university by, among other benefits, improving the teacher-student ratio. Gates said approximately 100 additional faculty members have been hired within the past year, bringing the new faculty hires under the program up to about 250. The goal is to hire 447 new tenured or tenure-track faculty by 2008.

"These new faculty are primarily intended to have a highly positive effect on our academic programs, but we are confident they will also help enhance the university and the community in economic and other ways - directly and indirectly," Gates noted in earlier comments about the university's faculty reinvestment program.

The payroll for the 21,181 Texas A&M and A&M System employees (including student workers) based locally - up 277 - totaled $672.5 million, for an increase of more than $25.7 million. Gates points out that salaries directly affect the local economy through purchases made by employees and their families as well as by deposits in local banking and thrift institutions.

The local economic impact of the university's students - 44,435 - was estimated to be about $228.4 million, an increase of almost $4.8 million, officials estimate. Major categories for student expenditures include food and housing, clothing, school supplies and recreation.

The economic impact study showed that attendance at athletic events, entertainment events and commencement exercises, along with participation in continuing education programs and visitors to the George Bush Presidential Library complex totaled more than one million for the first time-- approximately 1,191,900, to be more precise, for an increase of more than 220,000. Most of the increase is attributed to higher attendance at athletic events, according to tabulations in the report.

Campus visitors, including prospective students and their families, accounted for an estimated $107.4 million, an increase of about $36.6 million. Expenditures in this category include ticket sales, food, lodging, gasoline and services.

Campus construction contracts awarded during 2005 totaled about $27 million, a decrease of about $16 million, but Gates notes the university is embarking this spring on a $300 million building program that will be among the most extensive in the country. Ground is scheduled to be broken this spring for a $95 million interdisciplinary life sciences building and two new physics building totaling $57 million and made possible by a major gift by George P. and Cynthia Mitchell of Houston. Other campus projects in various stages of planning are an emerging technologies and economic development building, an expansion of the laboratory animal resources and research building, an addition to the veterinary medicine research tower and a new indoor athletic practice facility.

University officials pointed out that the sum of the different categories does not equal the direct impact figure because some of the inclusive activities involve expenditures that are made initially outside the local community or are included in other categories.