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EMU's economic, social impact trends upward

How much economic impact would you guess Easter Michigan University is responsible for in Michigan? Several million? Maybe a few hundred million? But not the several billions of dollars that the state's research universities (U-M, MSU and WSU) are responsible for, right? Wrong.

A new study by the Ypsilanti-based university pegs EMU's annual impact on Michigan's economy at $3.7 billion as of 2008. That's a $42 return for every dollar the state invests in it annually. That in turn creates $166 million in state tax revenue. A study EMU conducted five years ago yielded similar results.

"The economic impact has a lot of factors in it besides the research aspect of it," says Charles Monsma, a political science professor at Eastern Michigan University and co-author of the study. He was alluding to how much of Michigan's research universities economic impact is concentrated on federal research funding.

The report, "Economic And Social Impact Of Eastern Michigan University, 2008," also looked at other aspects of the university's impact, such as socially and through student retention. About 90 percent of EMU's student come from Michigan 75 percent of its graduates stay in the state.

The university's location in the middle of a large metro area, also plays a part in its impact. Monsma points out that being a part of Metro Detroit and close U-M and WSU helps it capitalize on its resources.

"It increases the impact," Monsma says.

Source: Charles Monsma, a political science professor at Eastern Michigan University
Writer: Jon Zemke
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