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<p>Dr. Lefton welcomes the breakfast crowd during the Kent unveiling of the economic impact report.</p>
The Economic Impact of Kent State University on Cleveland and Northeast Ohio

Creating the Region's Competitive Advantage

Emily Vincent
To commemorate the university’s 2010 Centennial, Kent State University commissioned a comprehensive study to quantify the economic contribution of Kent State and to detail the role that the university plays in promoting economic development, enhancing students’ careers and improving quality of life in Northeast Ohio and the individual regions served by its eight-campus system.

The findings of the economic impact report were recently released and shared with regional leaders, legislators, and dignitaries from the private and public sectors, many of whom are Kent State alumni, at events in Kent, Cleveland and Columbus.

“At a time when companies and organizations are asked to be more accountable and quantify their worth, this report documents the value of a Kent State education for not only our students, but also for our alumni, the communities we serve and our regional economy,” said Kent State President Lester A. Lefton.

The report, titled “Prosperity By Degrees: The Economic Impact of Kent State University on Northeast Ohio,” examines Kent State as an investment and engine of growth and prosperity. Key findings from the study include:

  • Kent State stimulates economies. The average annual added income of Kent State’s eight campuses and its alumni equals $1.9 billion. This is the approximate equivalent of 1.5 percent of the Northeast Ohio economy.
  • Kent State is a leading business enterprise. The region receives roughly $292.4 million in added regional income each year due to the payroll of Kent State faculty and staff and the university’s spending for supplies and services. In 2009, the university employed the full-time equivalent of 5,001 faculty and staff, making it the 15th largest employer in Northeast Ohio.
  • A Kent State education pays back for a lifetime. A Kent State graduate with a bachelor’s degree will on average earn $1.1 million in higher income over a lifetime than a person with only a high school diploma. An investment in a Kent State education results in rates of return that far exceed alternative investment opportunities. In addition, Kent State students enjoy an attractive 14.4 percent annual return on their investment of time and money. For every $1 students invest in Kent State, they receive a cumulative $4.80 in higher future income over the course of their working careers.
  • Kent State adds more to the state treasury than it takes out. Every $1 of state and local tax money invested in Kent State today returns $1.80 in added tax revenue and reduced government expenditures, benefiting taxpayers. Without Kent State’s presence, state and local governments would have to raise taxes to account for lower tax revenues.

“Kent State takes great pride in our 196,000 alumni,” Lefton said. “Our graduates leave the institution and enter the workforce armed with employer-valued skills, making immediate contributions and leading successful careers. They also are assets to the region and individually make significant contributions to the quality of life we enjoy in Northeast Ohio.”

The report, conducted by Economic Modeling Specialists Inc. (EMSI), also documents Kent State’s research efforts, which make Kent State a major source of start-up companies and technology transfer. Kent State is ranked among the nation’s top 77 public research universities by the Carnegie Foundation. The university’s research activity generates jobs and economic innovation in Northeast Ohio while securing the university’s role as a national cultural and educational center.

“The study renews our pride in this great public research university,” Lefton said. “Kent State not only is dear to those of us associated with it, but the institution remains a precious and essential resource for Northeast Ohio as well.”

To read the report, visit

Or view a slide show of the presentation of the report findings.

A photo of President Lefton and a public leader from Economic Impact Report presentation.

About Economic Modeling Specialists Inc. (EMSI)
The “Prosperity by Degrees” study was conducted by Economic Modeling Specialists Inc. (EMSI), a professional consulting firm that provides advanced economic modeling, data analysis, reports, Web-based tools and consulting to clients in higher education, workforce development, economic development and state and local government. The principal on the study was Kjell Christophersen, Ph.D. Dr. Christophersen is a senior economist with 30 years of experience in the United States and internationally in projects involving economic modeling. To date, Dr. Christophersen has produced more than 700 socioeconomic impact studies in higher education in the United States and Canada.

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