$3.5B Impact: Oregon’s Independent Colleges and Universities

EUGENE, OR – The annual economic impact to the state of Oregon from the Oregon Alliance of Independent Colleges & Universities (The Alliance) member colleges and universities is $3.5 billion, according to a new report by Lightcast for Fiscal Year 2020-21. As a proud member of The Alliance, Bushnell University is thrilled to be part of this collective impact. 

The Alliance’s twelve member colleges and universities are committed to providing high-quality education to their students, but the impact extends far beyond the classroom and the benefit to individual students. “In Oregon, we know instinctively that our private, nonprofit colleges and universities are crucial for our economy, with these institutions helping to define what it means to learn, work, and live in the state,” said Brent Wilder, president of The Alliance. “This analysis of the economic impact and return on investment of education of The Alliance member institutions provides meaningful data that quantifies just how crucial private, nonprofit education is to Oregon’s economic success. Across this state, our member institutions are the economic engines for their communities and their regions. Collectively, they are one of the most important anchors of our robust and vibrant knowledge-based economy.” 

In FY 2020-21, Oregon invested $1.1 billion to support The Alliance member institutions. In turn, the Oregon economy will grow by $7.3 billion over the course of students’ working lives. Further report highlights include:   

  • a total impact on the Oregon economy of $3.5 billion in added income, which equates to 43,396 jobs supported. For perspective, the activities of the member institutions and their students support one out of every 59 jobs in Oregon. 
  • a cumulative present value of $3.1 billion in increased earnings over student’s working lives. This translates to a return of $3.50 in higher future earnings for every dollar students invest in their education. Students’ average annual rate of return is 12.5%. 
  • in total, taxpayers gain $929.4 million in added tax revenue and public sector savings.  
  • a net impact of $2.9 billion in added income from The Alliance’s former students currently employed in the state workforce. 
  • the expenditures of relocated and retained students added $114.1 million in income to the Oregon economy. 
  • brought $26 million of added income to the state of Oregon through visitor spending impact. 

In addition, the investment analysis revealed that for every $1 students gain $3.50 in lifetime earnings and society gains $6.90 in added income and social savings.  

“Private higher education’s contribution to Oregon’s economy is significant,” said President Joseph Womack of Bushnell University and vice-chair of The Alliance. “Alliance member institutions in our state support work-force development, encourage innovation, and help drive economic development within an exceptional, personal learning environment.  This report reveals that private, nonprofit colleges and universities are a sound investment and invaluable to landscape of higher education in Oregon.”

This economic value study was conducted by Lightcast, the global leader in labor market analytics. The Alliance member institutions included in the study are as follows: Bushnell University, Corban University, George Fox University, Lewis & Clark College, Linfield University, Multnomah University, Pacific University, Reed College, University of Portland, Warner Pacific University, Western Seminary, and Willamette University. 

To view the full results of The Alliance’s economic value report, please visit oaicu.org/impact or contact Alliance President Brent Wilder at 503.342.0004 or brent@oaicu.org with questions. 

About Bushnell University

Founded in 1895 Bushnell University helps students discover and answer God’s call on their lives. Devoted to offering a Christ-centered environment, Bushnell encourages students to grow in wisdom, informed by faith, and leading to lives of service. Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, the University was founded by pastor-educator Eugene C. Sanderson and pioneer businessman and church leader James A. Bushnell. 

Bushnell is the largest private university in Eugene’s vibrant University District.The University offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees for undergraduate and graduate studies through course formats on campus, online, and hybrid formats. More information about the University is available at www.bushnell.edu. 

About The Alliance

The Oregon Alliance of Independent Colleges and Universities (“The Alliance”) is comprised of 12 private, nonprofit, independent colleges and universities in the state of Oregon. These institutions deliver high-quality experiential learning with high-impact teaching strategies. The Alliance is the collective voice of Oregon’s independent, nonprofit higher education sector. For more information, visit www.oaicu.org. 

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