Study: Carroll University pumps $340 million into Wisconsin economy

According to a new report, the net impact of spending by Carroll University is $47.5 million in added income to Wisconsin.


WAUKESHA – The cost of college may be on the minds of many, but a new study raises an important question: How much do colleges actually put back into our economy? When it comes to Carroll University in Waukesha, the answer is $340 million, according to Moscow, Idaho-based market analytics firm Emsi.

“When most people think of a university’s contributions to society, they may not consider the diverse economic impact it has, such as construction, jobs, and student and visitor dollars spent here,” said Carroll President Cindy Gnadinger. “In (the financial year) 2017-18 alone, this report shows Carroll University added $340 million to the Wisconsin economy and supported 6,481 jobs.”

Carroll’s 2,262 faculty and staff constitute a $40.5 million payroll, much of which is spent locally on groceries, living expenses and dining. When it comes to students, Emsi reported a Carroll education translates into a return of $3.40 in lifetime earnings for every dollar students invest. That’s an average annual rate of return of 12.4% compared to the stock market’s 9.9% 30-year average annual return.

The university is about to celebrate its 175th anniversary.

“Over the years, students who have studied at Carroll and entered or re-entered the workforce with newly acquired knowledge and skills,” Gnadinger said. “Today, thousands of these former students are employed in Wisconsin, with a net impact of $276.5 million in added income.”

By the numbers

The net impact of spending by Carroll is $47.5 million in added income to Wisconsin, mostly driven by the university’s $40.5 million payroll. University money is also spent on everyday expenses on facilities, supplies and professional services. Altogether, the thousands of Carroll alumni who are currently members of the state’s workforce account for $276.5 million in added income to Wisconsin. In short-term spending, Carroll commissioned contractors for construction and renovation of facilities, generating a net impact of $7.9 million.

Some students would not be in Wisconsin if not for Carroll, as about 29% of the students attending the university are from out of state. The money those students spend on groceries and living expenses add to $8.1 million.

Carroll College, the oldest in Wisconsin, was chartered by the Territorial Legislature in 1846. The institution is named after Charles Carroll, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. The first class enrollment was five students – all men – who were taught by two faculty members.

Emsi is a market analytics firm aiming to integrate a wide variety of data sources to serve professionals in higher education, economic development, workforce development, talent acquisition and site selection.


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