COLLEGE STATION, March 26, 2008 - Texas A&M University and other members of The Texas A&M University System based in Brazos County accounted for a record economic impact on the local area of almost $3 billion during 2007, according to an in-house study.
The direct economic impact on the local area by the institutions was a record $1.16 billion, an increase of almost $98 million over the 2006 level, the study showed.
When applying a conservative 2.5 economic multiplier-reflecting the number of times dollars are spent in the community-the direct economic impact figure for Texas A&M and other A&M System members based locally translates into an overall economic impact on the area of approximately $2.915 billion for 2007 - up more than $244 million from last year.
"The Texas A&M University System - including our flagship university, the health science center, seven state agencies, and the System Offices - is proud to call Brazos County and the Bryan-College Station community home," said Dr. Michael D. McKinney, chancellor of the A&M System. "Higher education is a cornerstone of our state's economy, and there is no greater evidence of this fact than here in the Brazos Valley. The A&M System's presence is contributing greatly to the area's thriving economy."
McKinney also expressed appreciation to the Legislature for its support, citing the increased funding the institution derived in the last legislative session and personally thanked Sen. Steve Ogden and Rep. Fred Brown, both of whom represent the Brazos Valley, for their efforts on behalf of the A&M System and higher education overall.
Texas A&M President Elsa Murano said the economic impact information is obviously good news for our entire community.
"An economic impact of this magnitude would not be possible without the partnerships and collaborations Texas A&M has with the local governments, businesses and the many other entities that call this area home," said Dr. Murano. "We are proud of our 'town and gown' relationships that make Aggieland such a unique and desirable place to live, work and play."
The university is nearing the successful conclusion of its Faculty Reinvestment Program to add 447 to the university's professorial ranks as a means to, among other benefits, enhance the learning process by improving the student-teacher ratio. President Murano said approximately 100 additional tenured or tenure-track faculty members were hired last year, keeping the program on track to reach the stated goal this year.
The average annual payroll for the more than 21,730 Texas A&M and A&M System employees (including student workers) based locally was estimated at almost $769 million, an increase of more than $44 million over year-ago estimates. Average total Brazos County-based employment increased by about 308 people last year. Payroll directly affects the local economy through purchases made by employees and their families and also increases the deposit base in local financial institutions, officials noted.
The local economic impact of the university's students - a record 46,542 for fall 2007- was conservatively estimated to be about $282 million, an increase of almost $42 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 complex totaled approximately 1.23 million, for an increase of almost 117,000. These campus visitors, including prospective students and their families, directly accounted for more than $115 million in the local economy, for a gain from a year ago of almost $12 million, the study showed. Typical expenditures in this category include ticket sales, food, lodging, gasoline and other services.
Actual construction costs during 2007 totaled more than $101 million, an increase of more than $55 million. Dr. Murano noted that the full impact of the university's expected $800 million building program, now under way or in various stages of planning, has yet to be fully felt in the regional economy.
The study measured the economic impact of Texas A&M University, as well as key aspects of A&M System members based in College Station, including the System Offices, the A&M System 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 was 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 and does not purport to be a sum total of their full impact on the region. Also, they note, 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.