Penn State Behrend local ecomic impact grows to $204 million

Erie, Pa. -- 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 Erie, The Behrend College, was responsible for generating $204 million of that amount and having a total employment impact in the region equivalent to 1,370 jobs.

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 Behrend’s annual impact was measured by economic activity generated through spending for capital improvements, good and services, and supplies; from faculty members, staff and technical service employees’ spending; from student spending; and from spending by visitors to conference, sporting, cultural, and alumni events.

The initial University-wide economic impact study assessed Penn State’s impact in 2003, with findings completed and released in 2004. At that time, Penn State had a $6.1 billion impact and Penn State Behrend had a $159 million impact. Penn State Behrend has grown in both enrollment and employment since 2003.

“Penn State Behrend remains a strong partner in northwestern Pennsylvania. As the college grows, so does its impact on the region,” said Jack Burke, chancellor of Penn State Behrend.

Penn State also generated a total of $393.3 million in revenue for Pennsylvania in 2008. Penn State Behrend contributed $9 million in government revenue.

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 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.

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 generating $1.73 billion annually into Pennsylvania’s economy.

Tripp Umbach, a national market research firm specializing in economic development, conducted an economic impact analysis measuring the effect of both direct and indirect business volume and government revenue impacts for each of Penn State’s 24 campuses. Tripp Umbach used impact research tools developed by the American Council on Education (ACE) for the measurement of college and university impact. ACE methodology has been used in hundreds of impact studies throughout the United States. Using the ACE model, Tripp Umbach was able to quantify the total direct and indirect economic impact of Penn State.

To view the report in its entirety, visit

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Last Updated April 24, 2009