Texas A&M's Economic Impact

By: Mike George Email
By: Mike George Email

While lawmakers figure out how to best spend the state's portion of the economic stimulus package... a study out by Texas A&M shows an economic stimulus plan of its own for the local economy.

In 2008, the direct impact was about $1.3 billion. This is an increase of about $146.5 million compared to the previous year and the previous record. Adding the impact of those dollars being reinvested throughout the region, the total impact is about $3.28 billion—nearly $366 million more than the prior record set in 2007.

Here's a breakdown of just some of the ways the university affects the area's economy.

* Record enrollment of 48,039 is going to be felt across the board. How about an impact of more than $378-million. That's an increase of approximately $96 million. Major categories for student expenditures include food and housing, clothing, school supplies and recreation.

*The average annual payroll for the more than 20,844 Texas A&M and A&M System employees based locally (including student workers) was approximately $796.8 million, an increase of more than $27.8 million over year-ago estimates. 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.

*Campus Visitors: Whether it's parents, friends or other family members coming to see the 48,000 plus students or those coming to sporting events , plays or the George Bush Library, those visitors are coming with money and spending it. Try $ 137.9 million going into the local economy, for a gain from a year ago of about $22.6 million., According to the study. Typical expenditures in this category include ticket sales, food, lodging, gasoline and other services.

*To accommodate more students more visitors,professors, researchers and support staff A&M needs more room. So there is a building boom going on. In 2008, there were $98-million in construction projects. going on. A&M President Elsa Murano noted in this study the full impact of the university’s $800 million building program, now under way or in various stages of planning, has yet to be fully felt in the regional economy. Major projects on the horizon include the Memorial Student Center expansion and renovation, and construction of the new Emerging Technologies and Economic Development building.

Murano was quoted in the study as saying “Texas A&M treasures our strong partnerships with College Station, Bryan, Brazos County and beyond,” Murano said. “Considering the economic uncertainly across the country, we are obviously closely monitoring potential future impacts on the university, but we are in an enviable position in comparison to many of our higher education colleagues in other states.”

The study measured 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 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.

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