Thompson Rivers University contributed $1.5 billion provincially and $705.3 million to the regional economy for the fiscal year 2018-19 according to report by EMSI (Economic Modeling Specialist Intl.), a labour market analytics firm. TRU finally released the results of the economic impact study that had been collecting data for the last year for the first time since 2013.
The economic impact analysis was broken down into three parts; operational spending, student spending and the impact of employed alumni. The economic impact was calculated on three bases; regionally, provincially and the impact from the Williams Lake campus.
The report was presented by EMSI consultant Susan Hackett who described the approach of the study as very conservative or a Canadian regional input-output proprietary model that takes into account how industries interact with each other and how multiplier effects are created.
“…So for economic impact analysis, we determined any in region activity during that year, activities can be the university spending, bringing revenues from outside, paying employees, buying other goods and services also attracting students in the region and educating the students. So at every step of this process we asked how would the region be different without different, or how would the province be different without TRU…” explained Hackett during her presentation.
The study calculated that the operation’s spending by TRU added $160.7 million provincially and $169.7 million regionally. The regional income is more than the provincial income because there is more outside money coming in to the region than in the province.
The student spending impact from last year was calculated to be $99.7 million provincially and $45.9 million regionally, out of which $22.4 million is attributable to international students alone. There were 5,615 international students studying at TRU in the last fiscal year.
The alumni impact regionally was calculated as $489.7 million and $1.2 billion provincially. “The impacts for the alumni were quite significant during the analysis year, we’re considering the number of alumni that are actively working in the region using various measures of attrition. We use location data from the B.C. Student Outcomes Survey and then we quantify the value of each student’s education. It is a very intricate calculation, but it gets us to very significant results,” Hackett said.
“To see (TRU’s) outputs quantify in a way and the impact that this university has on its communities is profound and in some way is humbling,” said TRU Vice President of Finance and Administration, Matt Milovick.