South Dakota State University accounts for 45% of the overall economic impact of public higher education in South Dakota, according to a study recently released by the South Dakota Board of Regents using FY19 data.
The six degree-granting regental institutions and the BOR office produce an annual economic impact of $2.1 billion, while sustaining more than 12,000 jobs. SDSU contributed more than $936 million of that total and 4,848 jobs.
“This study shows the impact of our state’s 1862 land-grant university and the important role our students, faculty, staff, Extension employees as well as our alumni have on South Dakota and the region. SDSU is critical to the economic engine and the progress of our state,” said SDSU President Barry Dunn.
SDSU’s overall yearly economic impact has increased by $170 million, or 22% over nine years. The BOR conducted economic impact studies in 2009, 2016 and 2019 before completing this year’s report. The most recent report also determined that 52% of SDSU graduates remain in South Dakota and have a direct economic impact of $100.8 billion over a 40-year career.
“As a university, we continue to engage with industry and other partners and as a result we have a tremendous impact on our state’s economy,” Dunn said. “Strategic initiatives, like a Raven Precision Agriculture Center or a POET Bioprocessing Institute, do more than just allow us to train our students or conduct important research. These initiatives drive industry growth and create new jobs that have a lasting impact on communities in our state.”
Research and scholarly activities on campus produced $67.6 million in research expenditures in FY19 at SDSU, generating $104.5 million in economic impact and 603 jobs. That equates to a return of $1.54 on every $1 spent on research. The $67.6 million was an increase of more than $4 million from FY18 or 6.5% more research expenditures.
“Research has and will continue to play a vital role at SDSU,” Dunn said. “Creating new knowledge and solving society’s complex problems is embedded in our mission and it is our responsibility to continue to grow our university’s research portfolio to match those expectations.”
Locally, SDSU economic footprint accounted for $561.8 million for Brookings County, according to the report. That figure includes 2,909 jobs and $19 million toward local taxes and $31.6 million in overall state and county taxes. Those numbers include a student tax benefit of $2,742 due to jobs and local spending, a benefit that comes from an average of $8,860 of local spending by students who live off campus. One SDSU student produces an average yearly economic impact of more than $81,000 and .36 jobs to the state and community.
“Brookings County is home to many of our students who attend class on our Brookings campus and work in our community,” Dunn said. “They contribute to the local economy when they shop in the stores, eat in the restaurants and rent places to live. The investment they make in higher education and their futures is multiplied by them as they live and work in our community.”