BSU has $166 million impact on regional economy

Bemidji State University adds an estimated $166 million per year in economic activity to the Bemidji region and is directly responsible for an estimated 2,225 jobs, according to an economic impact study released by St. Paul, Minn.-based Wilder Research.

The university’s impact, measured during a survey of economic activity in the region during 2011, was estimated to be approximately 7 percent of the region’s $2.4 billion economy.

“Bemidji State University serves a unique and vital role as an economic engine in the Headwaters region,” said Dr. Richard Hanson, president of Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College. “This research simply proves the strength and importance of the partnership between Bemidji State University, the city of Bemidji and the people of north central Minnesota.”

The Wilder Research study measured Bemidji State’s contribution to the regional economy in a number of ways:
• Direct spending and hiring by the University that impacts personal income, employment and state tax revenues,

• Indirect spending by the University created by vendors, contractors and businesses supplying inputs to the university and its students, and

• Future productivity enhancements for public and private organizations in Minnesota that are attained through educating the students who make up the state’s future workforce.

The study used data from BSU’s operational expenditures,salaries and benefits from 2011; Minnesota Management and Budget data on capital expenditures from state bonding projects that financed investments at BSU from 2010-2012; and estimates of student spending based on a survey of 202 BSU students.

Wilder Research’s data did not consider economic activity due to University-related tourism, such as spectators traveling from out of town to attend athletic events or other activities on campus.

Direct and indirect spending
Bemidji State’s total annual impact of $166 million on the economy of the Headwaters region in Minnesota was based on $100 million in direct and indirect spending; $66 million in student expenditures; and $31,109 in investments.

Economic impact was measured using an economic multiplier that considers the secondary benefits of spending by a person or organization receiving money from a University-related expenditure.

The majority of BSU’s economic impact is felt in the real estate sector, with an estimated $64.2 million in annual economic activity. Other industry sectors impacted by BSU include state and local government education ($19.8 million), food service and drinking establishments ($11.5 million), child day care services ($9.0 million) and telecommunications ($7.4 million).

Jobs created
Additionally, BSU was found to have generated an estimated 2,225 jobs in the region – 1,786 jobs directly generated by the University and its students and an additional 439 jobs created by vendors, contractors and businesses supplying inputs to BSU and its students. Of the jobs directly generated by BSU, 1,121 were found to come directly from the university’s operating expenditures, while 664 were a result of student spending in the region.

The report found BSU to be responsible for creating 1,074 jobs in state and local government education; 234 jobs in food service and drinking establishments; 221 jobs in real estate; 116 jobs in child day care; and 54 jobs in food and beverage retail outlets.

Future productivity
Bemidji State’s ability to enhance the future productivity of Minnesota’s workforce was found to provide an estimated $139.1 million of future value to the state economy. This is based on the 872 bachelor’s and master’s degrees awarded by the university in 2011.

Tax impact
Finally, BSU was found to generate approximately $9 million in state and local tax revenue each year through sales, property and income taxes paid as a part of the university’s operating activities. Additional tax revenue is realized through social insurance contributions and taxes paid by businesses and industries that serve the institution.

The Bemidji State University economic impact study was part of a broader effort to determine the economic benefits of the entire Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system to the state of Minnesota. Wilder Research found the system to have a total annual economic impact of $8.3 billion on the state of Minnesota, or 2.8 percent of the state’s total gross regional product, while generating an estimated 80,856 jobs. On the Twin Cities metro area alone, the study found the system to have a $3.1 billion economic impact while generating 30,301 jobs – 21,228 of which were directly generated by the system and its institutions.

About Wilder Research
Wilder Research is one of the nation’s largest nonprofit research and evaluation groups dedicated to practical research in the field of human services. From its offices in Saint Paul, Minn., Wilder Research works with more than 100 organizations each year to study the effectiveness of their services and to understand trends and issues that affect their work.

Wilder Research is part of the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, a nonprofit health and human services organization that has served the greater Saint Paul area since 1906. It operate dozens of programs that help children succeed in school, older adults remain independent, troubled youth create healthy futures, and individuals and families maintain long-term housing.

About Bemidji State University
Bemidji State University, located in northern Minnesota’s lake district, occupies a wooded campus along the shore of Lake Bemidji. Enrolling more than 5,000 students, the University offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and nine graduate programs encompassing arts, sciences and select professional programs. The University is a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system and has a faculty and staff of more than 550. University signature themes include environmental stewardship, civic engagement and global and multi-cultural understanding.

For further information about the University, visit, become a fan of Bemidji State University on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.