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East Central University has a $143 million impact on Oklahoma’s economy, according to a statewide analysis conducted by Regional Economic Models Inc. for the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

The study shows that individual institutions of higher education are a vital economic engine, and the resources invested in them have a high rate of return and contribute to improved economic prosperity for their communities.

"One of East Central University's priorities is to increase economic development and community stewardship in our area," said ECU President Richard Rafes. "It is wonderful to see this study and the impact ECU has for this area of the state.

"As we work with our community partners to develop the Arts District of Ada and coordinate efforts with the Chickasaw Nation, the city and others on economic enhancements for our region, I am excited about the university's role in providing even greater economic benefits," he said.

Statewide, the study indicates that for every $1 of state-appropriated funds spent on higher education in Oklahoma, an additional $5.15 is pumped into the state's economy.

The study also revealed that the creation of jobs, direct expenditures, increased productivity and the impact of athletics and tourism related to higher education directly and indirectly accounts for approximately 23 percent of the state's economy.

"Oklahoma higher education is an invaluable resource which produces graduates who stay in Oklahoma, have jobs in Oklahoma, significantly contribute to the quality of life in Oklahoma and have an extra incentive to keep improving it," said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. "Taxpayers continue to receive a great return on their investment as higher education drives Oklahoma toward a future of long-term, sustained economic growth."

A college graduate earns more money over the course of a lifetime than a person without a degree. The disposable income of college graduates in Oklahoma creates a buying power of $778 million annually, which benefits retailers and merchants across the state.

Every public college and university in Oklahoma spends money on capital improvements, including construction of new buildings; furniture for faculty, students and staff; equipment for labs and offices; and library materials. In 2008, capital expenditures and construction spending are projected to add 23,750 jobs in Oklahoma.

Using a model of the state and data provided by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, REMI evaluated contributions of higher education such as direct institutional employment and spending, student and visitor spending, and graduate earnings and productivity

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