For every dollar Oklahoma Panhandle State University receives from state appropriations, it produces .30 in positive economic impact. —Courtesy photo

Feb 13, 2019

Panhandle State Communications

Oklahoma Chamber Reports Higher Education an Economy Grower

Goodwell, Okla. — A recent report produced by the State of Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce stated that Oklahoma’s public institutions are becoming increasingly more important to economic growth and development. For every dollar Oklahoma Panhandle State University receives from state appropriations, it produces $7.30 in positive economic impact.

Panhandle State President Dr. Tim Faltyn commented, “we are proud to be good stewards of the tax payer’s dollars and offer such a return on investment for our regional economy.”

“The Economic Role of Oklahoma’s Public Colleges and Universities” was released with the purpose of providing research outlining the economic output and impact that Oklahoma public colleges and universities have. In FY2016, the report stated that Oklahoma’s higher education supported $8.21 billion in economic output.

“Oklahoma’s public colleges and universities serve as an anchor in their cities, towns and regions as they contribute to the stability of their communities,” said State Chamber Research Foundation Executive Director, Dr. Jennifer Lepard. “The study shows what we’ve known to be true for a while—increased higher education is an underlying source of economic growth, both in the U.S. and internationally.”

The study showed that in 2016, Oklahomans that received an associate degree earned 17 percent more income than those that had completed high school with no further education. State residents that received their bachelor’s degree reported earning 60 percent more income than residents with a high school completion. Of the population with a bachelor’s degree, 75.1 percent are currently participating in the workforce; whereas 58.9 percent of those with a high school diploma are currently participating in the workforce.

Higher education in Oklahoma not only improves economic growth from the development of students, but also hosts some of the most highly skilled employees in the state. Staff and faculty at public universities and colleges often hold advanced degrees and work in scientific or technology-related fields. Universities raise the average levels of educational attainment in the towns they are located in.

“The impact of Oklahoma’s colleges and universities goes far beyond their campus boundaries,” said State Chamber of Oklahoma President and CEO, Fred Morgan. “Oklahoma’s colleges and universities drive local economies and serve as important employers in cities and our state. As we strive to make Oklahoma a top 10 business-friendly state, we are thankful to have them as a vital part of our state’s business community as we work to further Oklahoma’s goals of preparing a modern workforce for the jobs of tomorrow.”

The report showed that higher education increases human capital and student earnings, upsurges worker wages and productivity, and escalates localized economic activity in areas where public colleges and universities reside.

Panhandle State President Dr. Tim Faltyn is the Chair of the Council of Presidents at the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. He stated, “I know I stand with the other presidents in our state system that higher education is vital to Oklahoma prosperity.”

As Panhandle State continues to increase enrollment and graduation numbers, research like this fuels the motivation across campus. The university’s slogan “progress thru knowledge” rings even more true as the state and country push further into the future, expanding and supporting the economy through higher education.

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