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1 Center for Business and Economic Research

2 August 2014 Samuel Addy and Ahmad Ijaz Center for Business and Economic Research UA Economic Impacts on Alabama and Tuscaloosa MSA CBER, UA 2

3 Economic Impacts of The University of Alabama Highlights Samuel Addy and Ahmad Ijaz August 2014 Economic and fiscal impacts of The University of Alabama (UA) on the State of Alabama for the academic year, were $2.344 billion, 11,900 jobs, and $106.6 million in income and sales taxes ($32.7 million state sales tax, $33.1 million state income tax, and $40.8 million local sales tax). The $2.3 billion impact means that UA created a $16.66 impact for every $1 of state appropriation. Home football games had a statewide impact of $177.9 million, an average of $25.4 million per game. Alabama will realize a 16.7 percent annual rate of return on the $140.7 million state appropriation because over their careers UA s graduating class will pay $1.2 billion more income and sales taxes ($849.2 million state and $361.2 million local) than they would have without their UA degrees. UA is a very attractive investment for Alabama and also for its graduates. The real annual return on investment (ROI) for the UA graduating class ranges from 6.5 percent to 10.5 percent depending on the degree attained compared to a high school graduate; marginal real annual ROIs ranges from 6.5 percent to 19.3 percent. The UA economic impacts on the three-county Tuscaloosa metro area were $1.651 billion, 11,115 jobs, and $32.0 million in local sales tax; the average impact per home football game was about $18.2 million for a total of $127.7 million. UA also provides many other public and private benefits through wide-ranging service and outreach programs that contribute significantly to economic development of Alabama and the Tuscaloosa metro area. UA Economic Impacts CBER, Culverhouse, UA 1

4 Introduction This report presents economic and fiscal impacts of The University of Alabama (UA) on the State of Alabama and the three-county Tuscaloosa metro area for the academic year. Expenditure and employment impacts are presented as well as return on investment analyses of a UA education from public and private perspectives because state appropriations and tuition and other attendance costs can be considered as investments by the state and students, respectively. Results show that these are worthwhile investments and that UA had significant impacts on the state and metro area economies. With increasing enrollment and employment of faculty and staff, the University s impacts continue to hit record highs each year. UA focuses on being a student-centered research university and an academic community that is united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians. The University s mission is to advance the intellectual and social condition of the people of Alabama through quality programs of teaching, research, and service. The vision is to be the university of choice for the best and brightest state students and other students seeking exceptional educational opportunities. UA provides numerous benefits that have lasting impacts on the general public and its graduates through its teaching, research, and service activities. The University provides jobs, generates large tax revenues, promotes innovation, assists in business creation and growth, and facilitates economic development by making the region and state attractive for business and industry location and expansion. UA also improves workforce skills and the general quality of life in the Tuscaloosa metro area, the state, and the nation. Graduates learning abilities and intellectual growth are enhanced, enabling them to earn higher incomes, and contribute significantly in various ways to society. Higher incomes generate more tax revenues for the state and local (county and city) tax jurisdictions. UA contributes immensely to economic development statewide through wideranging service and outreach programs with links to communities, business, industry, government, and individuals. UA Economic Impacts CBER, Culverhouse, UA 2

5 The University employed 6,034 faculty and staff in the academic year and had additional student employment that we estimate to be an extra 1,849 UA faculty/staff equivalent. UA expenditures for the year totaled nearly $1.2 billion and comprised University spending of $381.1 million on payroll and $419.6 million on purchases; students spent $398.2 million on offcampus housing, food, books, clothing, etc. Students $398,183,700 33% UA Direct Expenditures Total: $1,198,852,020 Payroll $381,053,756 32% Other expenses $419,614,564 35% Visitors to the University also make additional expenditures that increase the UA spending impact. Football alone had a per home game visitor expenditure impact of about $18.2 million in the Tuscaloosa metro area and $25.4 million statewide. UA visitors include athletic event spectators, parents and relatives, other institutions academic personnel, business representatives, and others. Visitors are drawn to activities such as honors day, commencement ceremonies, homecoming, band competitions, and alumni weekends and reunions. Academic and business UA Economic Impacts CBER, Culverhouse, UA 3

6 visitors attend conferences, seminars, lectures, and other educational programs. Other visitors include media representatives, education officials, vendors, research sponsors, and candidates for faculty and staff positions. Direct UA spending generates rounds of spending in the metro area and the state that are captured by multipliers from the Regional Input-Output Modeling System (RIMS II). RIMS II is an input-output model developed and maintained by the U.S. Department of Commerce s Bureau of Economic Analysis; the model is available for states, metro areas and county groupings, and counties in the nation. An economic and fiscal impacts model that uses RIMS II multipliers for Alabama and the Tuscaloosa metro area was developed and used in this study. Fiscal impacts focus on income and sales taxes only; examples of other fiscal impacts not reported here include property, lodgings, and utility taxes and car tags and fees. Fiscal impacts are derived from earnings impacts, recognizing that not all of the earnings impact is taxable. Expenditures on sales taxable items constitute 42.4 percent of earnings and state taxable income is about 66 percent of earnings. The state income tax rate is 5.0 percent on net income; actually the first $500 and the next $2,500 are taxed at 2.0 percent and 4.0 percent, respectively, for filers who are single, heads of family, and married but filing separately. For married joint filers the first $1,000 and the next $5,000 are taxed at 2.0 percent and 4.0 percent, respectively. Excess net income is taxed at the 5.0 percent rate. Sales tax rates of 4.0 percent for state and 5.0 percent for local (combined county and city) jurisdictions are used. Combined county and city sales tax rates vary between 3.0 to 7.0 percent among the 67 Alabama counties, but are most frequently at 5.0 percent. UA Economic Impacts on Alabama Of the nearly $1.2 billion total UA spending, it is estimated that $1.0 billion was made in Alabama from 95 percent of payroll, 63 percent of purchases, and all student expenses (Table 1). In addition, there is a visitor impact of $249.2 million that comprises $186.0 million from athletics and $63.2 million from other visitor spending $177.9 million is from the seven home football games at about $25.4 million each. The economic impacts of UA on the state for the academic year rose by roughly $85.2 million and 344 jobs from the previous year to record levels of $2.344 billion (with a contribution to gross domestic product or GDP of $1.337 billion) and 11,899 jobs. Fiscal impacts of $106.6 million comprised $65.7 million in state tax revenues ($32.7 million sales and $33.1 million income) and $40.8 million in local sales taxes. UA Economic Impacts CBER, Culverhouse, UA 4

7 UA Economic Impact on Alabama Employment Impact: 11,899 Jobs Expenditure Impact: $2.344 billion Students $813,608,754 35% Visitors $249,170,717 11% Payroll $739,676,783 31% Other expenses $541,310,624 23% Table 1. The University of Alabama Expenditure Impacts on Alabama (Millions of dollars) Source Direct Spending Spent in Alabama Indirect Impact Total Impact The University of Alabama Payroll $381.1 $362.0 $377.7 $739.7 Purchases $419.6 $264.9 $276.4 $541.3 Subtotal $800.7 $626.9 $654.1 $1,281.0 Student Spending $398.2 $398.2 $415.4 $813.6 Visitor Spending $249.2 Total $1,198.9 $1,025.1 $1,069.5 $2,343.8 Contribution to GDP $1,366.8 Employment Impact (Jobs) 11,899 Statewide Fiscal Impact $106.6 State Sales Tax $32.7 State Income Tax $33.1 Local (City and County) Sales Tax $40.8 Note: Rounding effects may be present. Source: Center for Business and Economic Research, The University of Alabama. UA Education as Public Investment The economic and fiscal impacts on the state are only part of what Alabama gets in return for the state appropriation to UA. Many public benefits of education are hard to measure innovation promotion, direct and indirect new business development and job creation, general improvements in quality of life, public service, etc. but others such as additional tax receipts can be determined. From a public investment perspective, additional tax revenues can be considered as returns to state appropriation. To determine the return on this investment, we assume that 30 percent of the graduating class will reside permanently out of state and also that sales and income taxes stay at current rates. UA Economic Impacts CBER, Culverhouse, UA 5

8 Over the working life of the graduating class, a UA education will enable generation of $1.210 billion additional income and sales taxes; $849.1 million in state only sales and income tax collections and $361.2 million local sales taxes. These additional tax collections yield annual rates of return on the state s investment that are better than stock market performance. The $140.7 million state appropriation for is offset in the same year by the statewide sales and income tax receipts noted previously. Thus, the state s net investment is $75.0 million if just state tax receipts are considered or $34.1 million if both state and local tax receipts are considered. The $849.1 million of state tax receipts yields a 12.9 percent annual rate of return if the focus is only on state tax receipts. Alternatively, the total $1.2 billion additional taxes gets annual rates of return of 31.2 percent on a $34.1 million net investment and 16.7 percent on a net investment of $75.0 million. These rates of return are conservative as there are additional tax and other government revenues that are not considered here (e.g., property taxes and vehicle registration and tag fees). UA Economic Impacts on Tuscaloosa Metro Area Of the total UA expenditure, we estimate that 75 percent of payroll, 44 percent of purchases, and all student expenditures were made in the metro area for a total of $869.4 million (Table 2). This resulted in an impact of $1.651 billion, including a visitor expenditure impact of $178.9 million that consists of about $133.5 million from athletics and $45.4 million from other visitor expenditures. The University also had an employment impact of 11,115 jobs for the metro area. Football provided a visitor expenditure impact of $127.7 million from the home games played in Tuscaloosa, with an average impact per game of about $18.2 million. Other athletics baseball, basketball, gymnastics, softball, swimming, etc. are conservatively estimated to have had a $5.8 million impact. About $32.0 million in local sales tax revenues for the metro area s counties and cities are generated. Table 2. The University of Alabama Expenditure Impacts on Tuscaloosa Metro Area (Millions of dollars) Source Direct Spending Spent in Metro Area Indirect Impact Total Impact The University of Alabama Payroll $381.1 $285.8 $198.2 $484.0 Purchases $419.6 $185.4 $128.6 $314.0 Subtotal $800.7 $471.2 $326.8 $798.0 Student Expenditures $398.2 $398.2 $276.1 $674.3 Visitor Expenditures $178.9 Total $1,198.9 $869.4 $602.9 $1,651.2 Employment Impact (Jobs) 11,115 Local (City and County) Sales Tax $32.0 Note: Rounding effects may be present. Source: Center for Business and Economic Research, The University of Alabama. UA Economic Impacts CBER, Culverhouse, UA 6

9 UA Economic Impact on Tuscaloosa Metro Area Employment Impact: 11,115 Jobs Expenditure Impact: $1.651 billion Visitors $178,924,319 11% Payroll $483,957,323 29% Students $674,284,278 41% Other expenses $314,030,630 19% UA Education as Private Investment The University of Alabama education is also an investment by the students who enroll in UA degree programs. There are many benefits for these students from getting a UA education including the fact that education is its own reward. The ability to learn and grow intellectually greatly increases graduates earning potential. However, a college degree comes at a cost that includes the obvious cost of the education (tuition, room and board, books, etc.), as well as forgone earnings while in school. The forgone earnings, often called the opportunity cost, is taken to be the earnings potential of the educational level immediately below the graduate s highest degree. For example, the opportunity cost of getting a master s degree is the earnings potential of a bachelor s degree holder. The cost of study is therefore the opportunity cost plus the direct expenditure to obtain the degree. This cost is the actual marginal cost of pursuing the degree, which can be compared to the marginal benefit or addition to value (called value added) for the graduate, to determine whether the decision to obtain a UA degree is prudent. Value added is the difference in salaries of a particular degree graduate with that of a specified reference. High school graduation is used as general reference, but for marginal value added the reference is the prior degree level. Half the opportunity cost is included in the marginal cost of the UA degree since many students work while pursuing their education. A category of people with some college is included in the study to capture individuals who began college but did not complete the bachelor s degree requirements. These individuals will earn more income in their working lives than high school graduates will without college experience. In the marginal analysis, the average doctoral degree salary is compared to that of the master s degree, a master s is compared to a bachelor s, and a bachelor s to a high school graduate with some college experience. The value added of people with some college is obtained by comparing their income to that of high school graduates. Table 3 shows the results of the investment analysis UA Economic Impacts CBER, Culverhouse, UA 7

10 with the assumption that graduates will retire at 67 years of age. The table also shows lifetime earnings in both current and real (year 2013) dollars. Expected lifetime earnings increase from about $2.7 million for a high school graduate to $8.4 million for the doctoral degree; the corresponding real lifetime earnings range is $1.2 million to $4.4 million. The investment analysis was performed using real or constant year 2013 dollars. The real annual return on investment (ROI) for students with a UA education was determined by generating annual cost and income streams over the different working lifetimes of the categories being considered. People with some college will have real lifetime earnings of about $1.5 million, nearly $263,000 more than a high school graduate, which yields an 6.5 percent real annual ROI on their UA investment. Bachelor s and master s degree holders will earn marginal value added of roughly $717,000 (an 11.4 percent ROI) and $871,000 (a 19.3 percent ROI), respectively. A doctorate will earn $1.3 million more than a master s, yielding a 17.2 percent real annual ROI. Using high school graduation as a reference (i.e., attending UA instead of ending schooling at high school graduation), the doctorate yields the greatest real annual ROI with 10.5 percent, followed by 10.3 percent for the master, 8.7 percent for the bachelor s, and 6.5 for some college. The positive real rates of return and their magnitude indicate that the decision to pursue a UA degree is very sensible. The doctoral degree has the highest marginal return on investment and earns the most, even over the shorter working life. These real investment returns are better than the long term real returns on investment in U.S. equity markets. Table 3. UA Education as Private Investment (Class of 2013) Degree/Diploma High School Some College Bachelor s Master s Doctorate Average Starting Salary ($) 22,312 25,708 38,358 56,900 89,097 Total Cost of Degree (2013 $) 73, , , ,959 Lifetime Earnings (2013 $) 1,211,111 1,474,058 2,191,042 3,061,686 4,362,609 Incremental Income (2013 $) 262, , ,644 1,300,923 Real Annual Return on Investment 6.5% 11.4% 19.3% 17.2% Real Return Relative to High School 6.5% 8.7% 10.3% 10.5% Lifetime Earnings (Current $) 2,737,104 3,264,915 4,631,497 6,218,327 8,356,243 Incremental Income (Current $) 527,811 1,366,582 1,586,831 2,137,915 Note: Rounding effects may be present. Total cost of degree is the direct cost of the education (tuition, room and board, books, etc.), as well as forgone earnings while in school. Source: Center for Business and Economic Research, The University of Alabama. UA Economic Impacts CBER, Culverhouse, UA 8

11 25% Real Annual Rates of Return of a UA Education by Degree (Class of ) 20% Marginal Return Relative to High School 19.3% 17.2% 15% 10% 6.5% 6.5% 11.4% 8.7% 10.3% 10.5% 5% 0% Some College Bachelor's Master's Doctorate Conclusions and Discussions The University of Alabama economic impacts on the State of Alabama were $2.344 billion expenditure impact and 11,899 jobs. The University is also an excellent investment opportunity for the state, yielding a 16.7 percent annual rate of return on its state appropriations. The economic impacts on the Tuscaloosa metro area are $1.651 billion and 11,115 jobs. A UA education is a very high-yielding investment for students. The real annual rate of return on some college attendance is 6.5 percent over a high school graduate. The bachelor s degree has an 11.4 percent real annual rate of return over some college attendance, and the master s degree yields a 19.3 percent return over a bachelor s degree. The doctorate provides a 17.2 percent marginal return over the master s and has the highest lifetime earnings. Any study of this kind has some uncertainties. The real rates of earnings growth may change. So can income and sales tax rates, rate of alumni residence in the state, etc. However, under the assumptions of this report, a UA education is a very sound investment for students (better than most stocks and stock indexes) and a better investment for the state than most stocks and bonds. UA Economic Impacts CBER, Culverhouse, UA 9

12 In addition, there are several intangible benefits of a UA education that cannot be measured. The University produces skilled and knowledgeable people; provides valuable research, adding to the stock of knowledge; enhances graduates ability to learn and grow intellectually and to contribute in various ways to society; facilitates economic development; and provides valuable service to Alabama and its counties and communities. Thus UA delivers tangible and intangible benefits to its graduates and the state economy; there are also benefits to the national economy that are not highlighted here. It is important to note that there is no economic development without education. Higher education, in particular, plays a real and critical role in the modern high-tech economy. This is because economic growth is attributable mostly to the knowledge economy which is characterized by increasing returns, rather than the physical economy with its diminishing returns. Physical products depreciate and become obsolete. Knowledge builds on prior knowledge and does not depreciate or become obsolete. The physical products and services consumed in society are made better mainly with the gains in knowledge provided by higher education. This makes UA essential to the economic development of the metro area, the state, and the nation. The economic impacts of The University of Alabama on Alabama and the Tuscaloosa metro area certainly exceed by far those we have presented in this report. Acknowledgments The staff of the Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER), Financial Affairs (FA), and the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment (OIRA) provided valuable assistance to the completion of this report. Ms. Melissa Barnett, Ms. Tina Dorroh, and Ms. April Nelson all of FA, Dr. Michael O Rear of OIRA, and Ms. Sherry Lang of CBER were especially helpful. UA Economic Impacts CBER, Culverhouse, UA 10

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