Penn State Harrisburg's economic impact surpasses $135 million

April 28, 2009

Penn State's impact extends well beyond its teaching and research. In fact, Penn State is Pennsylvania's largest economic engine, generating more than $17 billion a year in overall economic impact and supporting more than 67,000 jobs.  Penn State Harrisburg was responsible for $135.1 million of that amount and a direct employment impact of 656 jobs coupled with an indirect impact of 780 more.

In an independent report released April 23, data show that Penn State not only is fueling the growth of Pennsylvania by directly generating nearly $8.5 billion in economic impact but also influences an additional $8.7 billion through business services, research commercialization and the activities of alumni.

"Penn State Harrisburg has a very significant impact on the regional economy,” said Chancellor Madlyn L. Hanes. “But the college’s contributions to Central Pennsylvania extend far beyond what is measured in dollars and cents. We are a working partner with business, government and education, providing academic programs, research expertise and technical services to meet the needs of all sectors. We are a key supplier for the local workforce pipeline, a community resource, and a cultural center.

"We are proud to play such an important role not only in the economic vitality of the region, but also in its quality of life."

Clearly Penn State and Penn State Harrisburg have positive effects on the Pennsylvania economy and contribute much to the economic vitality of the state. In 2008, Penn State Harrisburg’s spending for capital improvements, goods and services, and supplies totaled $7.9 million while the college had a governmental revenue impact of $6.8 million.

Penn State’s students add millions of dollars to Pennsylvania’s economy. Penn State students overall spent more than $932 million in the Commonwealth in 2008 and Penn State Harrisburg students were responsible for $20.3 million of that contribution. In addition to students, Penn State Harrisburg faculty, staff and technical service employees spent another $17.3 million.

In addition, out-of-state visitors for conferences, sporting, cultural, and alumni events at Penn State Harrisburg spent an additional $13.3 million. Penn State Harrisburg is a visitor destination in the capital region.

Penn State contributes in a variety of ways to the vitality of Pennsylvania's economy. According to the report, the University generated more than 2 percent of the state's business volume or more than $1 out of every $50 dollars in the state's total economy. In addition, Penn State leverages its state funding. For every dollar invested in 2008 by the Commonwealth to support the operations of Penn State, the University returned $25.06 in economic impact to Pennsylvania.

The four-month study by Pittsburgh-based Tripp Umbach indicates that Penn State's impact far outweighs other industries in the state. With the total direct, indirect and induced annual economic impact equaling more than $17 billion, the University currently creates more impact than the combined total impact of all of the state's airport hubs, professional sports teams, and arts and cultural organizations, by attracting nearly 1 million visitors and channeling more than $1.73 billion annually into Pennsylvania's economy.

Additional key findings in the 2009 Tripp Umbach report include:

The University annually expends more than $700 million through its research activities. Research at Penn State supports more than 18,000 additional jobs in Pennsylvania, which generates more than $1.9 billion in additional economic impact and more than $61 million in additional revenue for the Commonwealth annually.

To view the report in its entirety, visit

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated May 06, 2010