Baylor's Economic Impact on Waco Totals $787 Million, Says Prof

Jan. 19, 2001

by Alan Hunt

Baylor University had an estimated economic impact of $787 million on the Waco Metropolitan Area economy last year, says Dr. Tom Kelly, director of the Baylor Center for Business and Economic Research.

This total represents Baylor's combined economic impact in 2000 of students, visitors, operations and capital spending on the Waco economy, says Kelly. "To put this in perspective," he says, "Baylor was responsible, either directly or indirectly, for 12 percent of last year's total gross sales amount in McLennan County."

Kelly says his study takes into account the flow of out-of-county dollars Baylor brings to the local economy each year, along with the "multiplier effect" of those dollars that stay in the community to support additional spending.

He notes that Baylor student enrollment has increased steadily over the past five years. "Although more students are from McLennan County households than any other location, the majority of students can be considered to be 'foreign' residents." Baylor's enrollment for 2000 of 13,719 students included 11,558 from households located outside of McLennan County. Kelly says most of the growth in Baylor's enrollment over the past five years has been from out-of-county households.

He estimates average annual student spending to be $20,278 per student. Of that total, $11,940 goes on tuition and fees, $5,014 on housing and food, $716 on books and supplies, $1,616 on personal expenses and $992 on travel expenses.

He says, "The projected annual contribution of out-of-county students on local income due to their personal living expenses is estimated to be $96.4 million in 2000. Applying spending multipliers to these personal living expenses means that Baylor students had an economic impact of $241 million annually on McLennan County income."

Kelly says the amount of imported dollars from out-of-county student tuition and fees, endowment, etc., is estimated to be $176.8 million, and Baylor's annual capital expenditures in 2000 had a direct annual impact of $50 million. Spending by visitors is estimated to be $10.6 million. "Hence," he says, "the total direct economic impact of Baylor and visitor expenditures amounts to $237.4 million."

Kelly estimates that with its multiplier effect, the total annual economic impact of Baylor spending amounted to $546 million, which, combined with student spending impact of $241 million, resulted in a combined economic impact of $787 million.

For more information about his study, contact Kelly at (254) 710-4146.

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