CSU Plays Major Role in Economy, Study Finds
The major benefits of the 23 California State University campuses are felt by communities throughout the state, and a recent report shows just how much of an economic, technological, social and environmental impact the CSU makes statewide.
The report, "Working for California: The Impact of the California State University System," underscores that the dynamic, knowledge-based economy that California enjoys can be directly tied to the investment in world-class public higher education.
"Access to college is the key to better jobs, higher wages and a brighter future," said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed. "We know that students educated at our university not only improve their own condition but that of their families and the community around them."
Particularly important during this time of economic crisis, the unemployment rate for individuals in California with only a high school diploma is twice that of four-year college graduates.
The study also finds that the CSU supports more than 150,000 jobs statewide annually. The number of jobs supported jumps to nearly half a million when the economic impact of CSU alumni is factored in. The engine driving job creation is more than $17 billion in economic activity that directly results from CSU-related spending. This spending generates nearly $1 billion in state and local taxes annually, which translates to $5.43 for every dollar the state invests in the CSU. That figure jumps to more than $70 billion annually, and nearly $5 billion in tax revenue, when the economic impact of CSU alumni is factored in.
"A CSU education is clearly an investment that pays for itself year after year for both the individual and the state," Reed said. "The CSU's 2.5 million alumni are the educators, engineers, innovators and entrepreneurs of today. Current CSU students are the educated workforce and leaders of tomorrow."
Cal Poly Pomona's impact on the region and the state is significant.
- Annual spending related to Cal Poly Pomona ($550 million) generates a total impact of $319 million on the regional economy and nearly $916.5 million on the statewide economy.
- This impact sustains nearly 3,500 jobs in the region and more than 7,500 jobs statewide.
- Per year, the impact generates nearly $19.5 million in local and $58 million in statewide tax revenue.
- More than $2 billion of the earnings by alumni from Cal Poly Pomona are attributable to their CSU degrees, which creates an additional $3.5 billion of industry activity throughout the state.
Research, innovation and entrepreneurship on campus also boost the state's economy. The highlights include:
- The College of Agriculture at Cal Poly Pomona has transformed into a modern, urban, inclusive program that operates a 700-acre farm surrounded by three freeways and 13 million people. The inclusion of the food industry enables the college to embrace everything, literally, from the farm to the plate. Pomona is one of four CSU campuses actively engaged in agricultural research, working on projects such as botulism prevention, development of a hybrid lettuce, and foods that lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Cal Poly Pomona has the largest undergraduate civil engineering program in the nation. The College of Engineering is tied for 15th in the nation for top undergraduate programs in engineering among all private and public schools, according to the U.S. News & World Report 2010 College Rankings. One of every 12 engineers in California is a Cal Poly Pomona graduate.
- Ensuring that the California hospitality industry remains strong requires the availability of a highly trained workforce. The Collins College of Hospitality Management at Cal Poly Pomona is continually ranked among North America's premier programs. Students often are offered full-time positions before they have completed their degree requirements.
- California's biotechnology industry is among the largest in the world. Cal Poly Pomona is one of only two CSU campuses to offer an undergraduate degree in biotechnology.
- The College of Environmental Design's Landscape Architecture program is recognized by Design Intelligence with "High Distinction" as a program that is considered one of the best in the world.
- Cal Poly Pomona is ranked second in the nation for the best Urban & Regional Planning programs without a Ph.D. among all private and public schools, according to Planetizen, the leading online publication for the urban planning, design and development community. The same publication credits the programs with the most diverse student body in the nation.
- CSU campuses consistently earn national accolades for the quality of their teaching programs. Cal Poly Pomona, in partnership with the L.A. County Office of Education, runs an accredited comprehensive high school that emphasizes international studies.
In addition to supporting job creation and reducing unemployment, the CSU conferred almost 71,000 bachelor's degrees, nearly half of all the bachelor's degrees awarded by all public and private universities in the state. CSU students and alumni reflect the rich diversity of the state, and nearly half of all bachelor's degrees earned by African-Americans in California are conferred by the CSU. In 2006-07, 56 percent of all bachelor's degrees awarded to Latinos in California were CSU degrees.
"CSU serves the needs of California's workforce, and the economic drivers, which account for nearly 5 million jobs in the state, are knowledge-based industries that thrive because of the state's skilled workforce," said Elizabeth Johnston, senior associate at ICF International, which conducted the study. "Among these key industries are agriculture, business, life sciences, engineering, information technology, media, and hospitality and tourism and others that rely on the CSU for their workforce."
The CSU remains California's largest source of educators. More than half the state's newly credentialed teachers are CSU graduates.
The CSU is also a leader in sustainability, and the state's green sector grew by 45 percent over the past 15 years, indicating its increasing importance in the economy. Currently, 23 percent of the CSU's electric power is from renewable sources, and the CSU has partnered with the Department of General Services to lead a statewide effort to install solar-powered generation systems on university campuses and state facilities. In April 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized the CSU in the Top 20 list of the greatest national green power purchasers. The CSU also has 33 LEED certified /to be certified projects across 16 campuses. Students also take an active role in on-campus and community-wide sustainability measures, and the CSU has increased course offerings in sustainability and green business certificate programs.
The CSU also engages in applied research in key California industries including agriculture, biotechnology, information technology and others, and partners with local economic, community and business development offices and private industry around such ventures as biotechnology and alternative fuels development.
(Top photo: A recruiter from the Jet Propulsion Lab talks with a student at the Engineering and High-Tech Job Fair in 2005. Bottom photo: Engineering Professor Vilupanur A. Ravi talks with his research team, which includes Andrew Schissler, Brad Harrison and Gizelle Cuevas.)