YSU students receive $5.20 return for every $1 invested, university says

By Amanda Tonoli



In a given year, Youngs-town State University helps put nearly $923.7 million into five counties’ regional economies, supports about 15,688 regional jobs and generates $18.5 million from students and $1.3 million from visitors, according an “Economic Impact and Return on Investment of Education for YSU” report.

The five counties are Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana in Ohio and Mercer and Lawrence in Pennsylvania.

The nearly $1 billion annual, 2016-17 economic impact was generated from $161.3 million in payroll and operations; $37.5 million in research, construction and entrepreneurial activities; $705.1 million in YSU alumni within the five-county area; $18.5 million from students; and $1.3 million from visitors, according to the report.

“It’s important to look at the economic impact of higher education,” said university President Jim Tressel. “Maybe we haven’t done as good of a job talking about it as we need to ... This study confirms what all of us have known for quite some time: YSU is a major driver of the region’s economy and plays an enormous role in the educational, economic and social well-being of the greater Mahoning and Shenango valley area.”

Mike Sherman, special assistant to the president, said from a student perspective, YSU provides education of “super high value – probably the best value in the state of Ohio.”

“The return is [students receive] about $1.1 million more in added income across a lifetime for having a YSU education.” Sherman said. “That’s $27,000 more earned per year by having earned a degree from this very institution. That’s a great return on investment by students.”

“A YSU education is a tremendous investment for the future,” Tressel said.

For every $1 students invest in a YSU education and taxpayers invest in YSU, they get back a cumulative $5.20 and $5.50, respectively, in increased lifetime earnings, according to the report.

Mike Hripko, YSU’s associate vice president for research, said for the $18.5 million students spend at YSU, more than 400 jobs can be supported; and for what the $1.3 million visitors spend about 53 jobs can be supported.

“This independent study quantifies the economic impact of YSU,” Hripko said.

He expects an even greater impact in the future, he added.

YSU also generates $271 million in tax dollars, nearly six times more than the $54 million it spends, according to the report.

An aspect not easily measured is that YSU is also invaluable to partnerships.

Barb Ewing, chief operations officer at Youngstown Business Incubator, said: “If it weren’t for the partnership YBI has with YSU, the institute would not be located in Youngstown.”

In May, YSU and YBI accomplished a goal they collaborated on to attract Israeli companies to Northeast Ohio.

YBI and PrintCB, an Israeli-based start-up that produces copper ink for printed electronics, announced PrintCB’s establishment of U.S. operations.

It marks the first time the Israeli-YBI collaborative, which began last year, has resulted in a company relocating here.

“We are diving down deep [together] and changing the culture of the community, as well,” Ewing said.

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