"Half of that figure represents direct expenditures made by Purdue such as salaries and wages, supplies and expenses, and capital projects," explained Kevin McNamara, associate professor of agricultural economics, who conducted the study. "The other $1.1 billion can be credited to the spending by businesses that supply goods and services to Purdue, and those that support the households earning income from the university."
Joseph L. Bennett, vice president for university relations, said: "Purdue's greatest economic impact by far is through the empowerment education gives to our graduates and through the long-term benefits of university-based research. However, this study shows that a major institution like Purdue is a significant economic presence in our state."
In fiscal 1995-96, Purdue employed the equivalent of 23,058 full-time people, making it the seventh largest employer in the state according to the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. Employees paid $16 million in state and local income taxes on total earnings of $486 million. Purdue workers also pay sales, excise and property taxes -- all of which benefit Indiana.
Because of the business generated by the university and its employees, the providers of goods and service paid their workers $487 million in wages in 1995-96.
Another $376 million is funneled into the state economy by the payroll of businesses that provide students with food, housing, transportation, recreation and supplies.
The university spent $185 million in research grants brought in from federal agencies, industries and local governments in 1995-96. That money funded more than 3,300 new research projects during the fiscal year.
The Purdue Airport, located on the West Lafayette campus, contributes an average of $32 million to the state economy each year. The facility was the first university-owned airport in the nation, and it continues to provide first-hand experience to future pilots and aviation workers.
Purdue's statewide impact extends well beyond just dollars and cents. Over the past 10 years, the Purdue Technical Assistance Program (TAP) has provided university expertise to more than 1,850 Indiana businesses. TAP's referral service helps Indiana manufacturers solve problems and set up strategies to make the best use of ever-changing technologies. The university also helps the state with highway planning, economic issues and environmental concerns.
Purdue reaches out to Indiana from five campuses, 10 statewide technology sites, eight agricultural centers and a Cooperative Extension service office in each of the state's 92 counties. Fall 1996 enrollment was 63,777, including 35,156 in West Lafayette. Nearly 10,000 students received a Purdue degree in 1995-96.
The university has not escaped the economic realities of the '90s. In the past five years, Purdue has reduced its work force systemwide by 300 jobs.
"This reduction in force has come primarily through attrition," said Frederick Ford, executive vice president and treasurer. "The flexibility of both our department heads and employees has allowed Purdue to absorb these positions while maintaining an excellent level of educational opportunities and services for students."
Deliberate planning and a commitment to making course-availability a top priority means the university is educating more students without significantly increasing classroom space.
According to James Blakesley, director of space management and academic scheduling, the economic benefits of sound planning are significant.
"The West Lafayette campus is currently operating successfully with almost the same amount of classroom facilities that were in use in 1949, even though we're dealing with almost three times as many students," Blakesley said. "Our scheduling strategies over the past 40 years have yielded an estimated savings of $62 million in capital construction costs, and about $1.4 million per year in operating expenses."
Both the staff streamlining and space utilization efforts are examples of Purdue's Excellence 21 program, a universitywide initiative to apply the principles of total quality management and continuous improvement to all areas of operation.
Source: Kevin McNamara, (765) 494-4236;
Writer: Sharon Bowker, (765) 494-2096; e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org
Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; e-mail, email@example.com
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