$2.06 Billion and Growing

As the state’s land grant university, Oregon State is primarily focused on the needs of Oregon and its people. That focus has produced a growing impact on Oregon’s economy and quality of life that goes well beyond the state’s borders, affecting our nation and our world.This report outlines Oregon State’s current impact in both quantitative measurements and qualitative narratives. It also identifies next steps the university will take to extend its land grant mission, continue making significant, positive impacts and serve the public through excellent teaching, innovative research and outreach and engagement initiatives in increasingly diverse urban and rural communities.

OSU's statewide impact pie chart: 1.932 billion

How we measured

A customary way to measure impact is to track an institution’s spending for operations, payroll and capital construction. The findings in this report measure Oregon State’s economic impact, not only near campus in Benton and Linn counties, but statewide. It is an expanding footprint, due in large part to the university’s research programs, many Experiment Stations and Extension presence in all 36 counties, as well as a student body that draws the best and brightest from all corners of Oregon. This report depicts a wave of increasing direct economic benefit and job creation, in addition to many indirect benefits, despite difficult economic conditions. In fact, Oregon State’s baseline expenditures increased 30 percent, from $836 million in fiscal year 2005 to $1.078 billion last year.

As measured in late 2011 and early 2012 by the economic consulting firm ECONorthwest, Oregon State’s overall statewide impact totals $1.932 billion, an increase of more than $500 million since the last measurement in 2006. This is the largest reported impact measured by any of Oregon’s public universities, underscoring Oregon State’s status as the only institution in the state to simultaneously hold the prestigious Carnegie Foundation’s top ranking for research universities and its community engagement designation for consistently serving and collaborating with communities beyond campus.

Spending’s ripple effect

OSU's impact on Oregon's economy pie charts

The economic impact of Oregon State’s operations, including the purchase of goods and services and payroll, is far reaching. For example, $33 million — or 17 percent — of goods and services were purchased in Benton and Linn counties. Another $89 million in goods and services were purchased statewide.

Meanwhile, in 2011 Oregon State spent an additional $133 million on capital equipment and completion of several major campus construction projects. Most of those expenditures — about $100 million — were with architectural and engineering firms, contractors and materials and equipment suppliers from the Portland area. In all, the impact of Oregon State’s capital and construction spending in 2011 created 553 new jobs in Oregon. Meanwhile, the university estimates that OSU-Cascades faculty and staff contributed more than $2 million to the Central Oregon economy.

Spending by Oregon State students is also significant. In 2011, students enrolled at Oregon State’s Corvallis and Bend campuses spent a total of $250 million — an annual average of $10,900 per student. This total does not include the cost of tuition, other student expenditures on campus or campus housing, as those data are included elsewhere in ECONorthwest’s analysis.

Oregon State’s economic impact in communities and statewide extends beyond its own spending. The university’s total impact results from three sources:

  • Spending that is the direct result of Oregon State operations, employment and expenditures.
  • Indirect economic contributions that occur as companies purchase additional supplies or hire additional employees to support purchases from Oregon State.
  •  Induced benefits for state and local economies resulting from the purchasing power of Oregon State employees..

Oregon State as employer

In 2011, Oregon State University employed 14,969 people, of whom 6,615 worked full-time. The remaining 56 percent worked part-time, including a large number in work-study and graduate student positions. In total, Oregon State employment expenditures provided $336 million in wages that circulated throughout Oregon and another $125 million in employer-paid benefits, a total payroll impact of $461 million.

The presence and activities of Oregon State contribute a source of 18,000 jobs in Benton and Linn counties and elsewhere in the state, while the net creation of jobs attributed to the university across the state is 8,593 jobs.

A half-million visitors

In 2011, more than 535,000 visitors came to Corvallis to tour the campus, attend athletic, university or cultural events, participate in research, scientific presentations and meetings or use campus facilities. Of all visitors, fewer than half were from Benton and Linn counties, and nearly 90 percent were Oregon residents. Spending by university visitors totaled $39 million in 2011.

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