Study shows SWT a dominant force in local economy

Date of release: 08/17/99
Southwest Texas State University contributed almost $400 million to the San Marcos economy in 1997, according to a recently completed university study.

The economic and community impact study, prepared by SWT faculty in the School of Business and staff from the university’s Institutional Research and Planning office, shows the university infused $388 million into the local economy in 1997 and continued its role as the dominant contributor to the San Marcos economy.

The $388 million figure is an increase from a previous study for the year 1990, which showed SWT was responsible for injecting $240 million into the local economy that year.

SWT President Jerome Supple said the study indicates that the university “is an indispensable contributor to a healthy local economy.”

“Moreover, as shown in previous studies, the ability of SWT to prosper through unstable economic times has acted as a stabilizing force on the San Marcos economy,” said Supple.

The $388 million local economic impact attributed to SWT is based on direct university related expenditures of $228.4 million. Because each university-related dollar spent in San Marcos generates an additional 70 cents in business volume, using a multiplier of 1.70 results in a total economic impact of $388 million.

SWT students are responsible for 64 percent of the university-related expenditures. They purchased $145.7 million worth of goods and services locally in 1997, up from $87.2 million in 1990. SWT faculty and staff were responsible for $29.4 million in direct expenditures in 1997, generating $49.9 million in bsuiness volume. University visitors spent $23.1 million in San Marcos in 1997, and the university made direct local purchases of more than $9.7 million.

In addition, the study shows that, in spite of its tax-exempt status, SWT was responsible for more than $26.9 million in revenue to the city and to the San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District in 1997, an increase of $2 million from 1990. That revenue came in the form of utility fees, auto registrations, franchise fees, real estate taxes paid by students, faculty and staff and other sources. The cost of local government services to SWT was estimated at $22 million.

SWT remains the largest employer in San Marcos. Of the 17,723 San Marcos jobs, 8,481 (48 percent) are due to university business activity. Nearly 2,700 of those jobs represent direct employment by SWT. Employment in San Marcos attributable to SWT created more than $162 million in personal income in 1997.

SWT also has a substantial impact on the San Marcos financial community. Bank deposits by students, faculty, staff and the university allow local banks to extend additional credit. That credit base expansion could be more than $63 million.

The 1997 economic impact study includes a report on other benefits SWT provides for the local community. These include business, educational and professional services, community services, athletic events, volunteer efforts and other public, cultural and social events.

“These services are distributed throughout many different areas. Because of this diversity, SWT appears to make a well-rounded contribution to its community,” said Supple.