Southeastern to collect data for economic-community impact study
Contact: Rene Abadie
HAMMOND – Faculty, staff and students at Southeastern Louisiana University will soon be asked to complete surveys that will be used to quantify the community and economic impacts the university has on the region.
Southeastern is joining the seven other institutions that make up the University of Louisiana System in an effort to determine each campus’ economic and quality of life contribution for the region and the system’s impact on the state as a whole.
The project is being coordinated by Applied Research Technology Corporation of Baton Rouge and is based on a methodology established through a widely recognized study by the American Council of Education.
“We are asking our faculty, staff and students to please respond to the survey so we can obtain data that accurately gauges the positive impacts the university, our employees and our students have on the surrounding region,” said Interim President John L. Crain.
He said the Internet-based surveys are confidential and will ask for estimated expenditures in categories such as housing, food, transportation, utilities and other services and retail-related expenses. The information will remain confidential and will only be used in the aggregate.
Students will be asked to participate in a Current Student Survey that additionally will seek their levels of satisfaction with various campus offices and services..
Area business and industry leaders will also be interviewed later this year in order to gain an outside perspective of the university’s influence on the community. The study will include an evaluation of the university’s activities and programs to determine a value-added assessment of what the university contributes toward the general quality of life in the area and what its graduates contribute to the regional and statewide economy.
“The Legislature and the general public have been very supportive of higher education,” Crain said. “This study will help show the return on that investment and to enumerate our value as accurately as possible,” he said.
Southeastern conducted a similar study in 2003, which showed the university had an economic impact of an estimated $343 million on a 25-mile radius. Adjusted for inflation, the university is estimated to have a current impact in excess of $500 million.
“The total economic impact of our universities is difficult to measure,” said UL System President Randy Moffett. “However, 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.”
Southeastern is the second largest university in the UL System and the third larges in the state with more than 15,200 students and over 1,800 faculty and staff.