A university is often judged by the size of its student body, research output, faculty distinctions, application numbers, size of endowment and athletic successes. With the help of Beacon Economics, we identified additional metrics of importance. We looked at the economic and social impacts of CSULB on LA and Orange counties and the specific impacts on the city of Long Beach.
Economic impact has several components. A direct impact comes from the number of people we hire and pay who then pay taxes and also buy houses, cars, groceries, and so on in the region. Other direct impacts are the goods and services the university buys to keep our enterprise running; including energy, office supplies, equipment, building supplies, technology and equipment, and food. Of course, when we buy goods and services from vendors, they in turn hire staff, pay taxes, and add to the economic vitality of our region.
Here are our numbers:
• $546 million in employee compensation spent on housing, transportation, retail, medical, and other services in the region.
• 10,600 regional jobs supported by Long Beach State University.
• $510 million spent by students and visitors to campus on local goods and services.
• $42 million in regional tax revenues generated for our communities.
• $16.9 million in capital improvement spending from suppliers located in the region.
• $5.3 million in spending locally for university-sponsored and academic research.
• 76% of the local Long Beach employers hired the students who interned with them.
• Overall economic impact: $1.53 Billion.
A unique asset of the campus is the student and visitor populations we attract to the region, a population that would not otherwise buy goods and services locally. Annually, student spending on local goods and services total nearly $500 million while visitors to the region affiliated with the campus spend an addition $20 million. Student and visitor spending provides support for our local businesses and ensures our community's vitality with over $11 million in tax revenues to the city of Long Beach. I am particularly mindful of how student, visitor, and local capital improvement spending can have a ripple effect throughout our community, supporting local jobs and helping our cities provide a high quality of life for our neighbors.
In addition to the financial impact, we can also calculate, more qualitatively, our social impact including the work we do to improve the physical and behavioral health of residents; academic and social readiness among K-12 students; access to artistic, athletic, and other cultural events; and environmental health through robust sustainability and climate change mitigation activities.
Perhaps our biggest social impact is our graduating class. We develop thousands of graduates each year who start and own businesses, pay taxes, vote, and become community leaders. Our 320,000 alums enrich LA and Orange counties and beyond through their professional contributions and their community engagement. Their contributions to the political resilience of our region are also noteworthy with examples of mayors, city councilmembers, state assembly members, chief school officers, members of Congress, and so on counted among our alumni.
We have and are continuing to build win/win relationships with city and county governments, and regional businesses, industry, and educational organizations. Our nationally renowned Long Beach College Promise contributes directly to our region by guaranteeing a place at the University to local students who meet our requirements. Given the 106,000 applicants we received for the Fall 2019 new undergraduate class, The Promise has both economic and social advantages for greater Long Beach by giving local students an admissions advantage. Importantly, students who go to school at CSULB are far more likely to settle in Southern California, thus, keeping their talents and contributions local.
Having a big university footprint in the city provides unique challenges and opportunities as we strive to grow positive economic and social impacts on our community every day. Let’s turn the ripple effect our economic impact creates in our community into a tidal wave. Partner with us! We’re looking for new and better ways to be an integral and irreplaceable good for Long Beach.
Dr. Jane Close Conoley is president of Cal State Long Beach.