Radford University and its alumni generate an economic impact of more than $1 billion annually and support more than 8,400 jobs in Virginia, according to a report released by the university on Jan. 20.
The report, titled “Radford University Economic Impact Study 2016,” is a comprehensive measurement and modeling of the economic impact that Radford University provides to the Commonwealth of Virginia and the New River and Roanoke valleys. The report considers a wide range of data, from the direct impact of spending by its students, faculty and staff members to the induced impact of its more than 70,000 alumni. The comprehensive study compiled data from Fiscal Years 2009-2016.
Regionally, Radford University contributed more than $313 million, supporting 2,845 jobs, according to the study commissioned by the university and prepared by the New River Valley Regional Commission. Radford University’s regional economic impact extends across both the New River and Roanoke valleys, composed of Botetourt, Floyd, Franklin, Giles, Montgomery, Pulaski, Roanoke and Wythe counties, as well as the cities of Radford, Roanoke and Salem. When combined with the induced impact of alumni, the regional total impact is $475.2 million, supporting a total of 4,176 jobs.
According to the analysis, RU’s impact of $313 million upon these areas reflects an increase of almost 40 percent since 2010.
At the statewide level, the report characterizes Radford University’s impact to be $361 million annually, supporting 3,221 jobs statewide. When combined with alumni’s induced impact, the total economic impact is $1.056 billion, supporting 8,421 jobs.
For each dollar of state support, the total impacts represent a return on investment of $22 statewide and $10 regionally, based on an investment of $47.3 million received in general appropriations.
Economic impact is measured by the initial spending of the institution for operations and personnel as well as student spending. The total economic impact includes the effect of initial spending and the secondary or indirect and induced spending that occurs when initial expenditures are respent. The Radford University economic impact study measured both direct economic impact – money spent by the institution itself – and indirect impact, or the respending of dollars within the local economy by the university community, alumni and affiliated businesses and households.
Among other significant findings:
Radford University supports 2,845 jobs in the region and 3,221 statewide based on its direct and indirect spending.
Regionally, Radford University alumni earnings totaled more than $232.3 million in 2016 to produce over $162 million in sales at local businesses and support 1,331 regional jobs.
Across Virginia, Radford University alumni earned an estimated $787.8 million to produce $695 million in sales and support more than 5,200 jobs.
$272 million was spent on campus construction and renovation projects. Virginia businesses received more than 80 percent of these contractual agreements.
On average, 86 percent ($47.3 million) of student spending occurs in the New River and Roanoke valleys, slightly more than half of which occurs within the City of Radford.
Visitors to Radford University bring an additional $4.5 million in spending to the region.
— Submitted by Sherry Wallace