Friends and Newman have $293 million impact on local economy

Aug 14, 2014

Two private educational institutions in Wichita are making a substantial economic impact on the local economy according to a recent economic impact study commissioned by the Kansas Independent Colleges Association (KICA).

Friends University and Newman University generate $293.6 million in income for the Wichita/metro service area, nearly 30 percent of the $981 million total by all KICA institutions in the state. The study, conducted by Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI), calculated the estimated collective impact on the economy by the 18 Kansas independent, degree-granting member colleges and universities for Fiscal Year 2012-13.

The net impact of payroll and expenses which result in added regional income for the Wichita/metro area by both institutions was approximately $44.7 million.

“I hope this helps the citizens of Kansas recognize the immense value that private universities provide our local economy, not just through providing a high-quality and affordable college education, but also as engines of economic growth,” said Matt Lindsey, President of KICA. “For Wichita, these two universities are essential to the region’s economic prosperity.”

Highlights of the study also include the benefits generated by the universities for students, society and taxpayers. For example, KICA institutions receive only around one percent of the state funding for higher education. In addition, most Kansas private education graduates finish in four years.

Friends University, founded in 1898, and Newman University, founded in 1933, sit a short distance from each other on Kellogg Avenue and have been long-time partners in higher education. Students at both campuses have had the ability to take a class or two at the neighboring institution to help round-out a course schedule to ensure that they can attain a degree in four years.

“I have always been impressed with the quality of private education and the powerful investment it provides for the individual student and also for our communities. Kansas private universities are producing top-notch graduates — future employees for our businesses, teachers, health care professionals, professors and more — at a fraction of the cost paid by taxpayers for public higher education in the state,” said Noreen M. Carrocci, Newman University president.

Together, Friends and Newman universities provide $84.5 million in added tax-revenue across the state from the students’ higher lifetime incomes and the increased output of businesses. The accumulated contribution of former students at both institutions now employed in the regional workforce amounted to more than $241 million in added income to the state’s economy during the analysis year – 33.5 percent of the total $720 million accumulated contribution of all former KICA students. The study also found that 62 percent of KICA graduates stay in Kansas to continue working, which is greatly beneficial as EMSI noted in the study that “their enhanced skills and abilities bolster the output of state employers, leading to higher income and a more robust economy.”

“The financial impact of Kansas independent colleges doesn’t end when our students graduate,” said Darcy Zabel, interim president at Friends University. “The greatest benefits come because our students graduate and are then able to give back to their communities as teachers, doctors, missionaries, and leaders for a global society. Our universities serve the public good – as educators and through our financial impact as engines for growth and prosperity in our communities, our state, our region, our nation and the world.”

Collectively, Friends and Newman graduates provide a present value of $915.6 million in added state income over the course of the students’ working lives. That equates to an equivalents measure (the number of average-wage jobs that a given amount of income can potentially support) of 6,193 jobs.

The total economic benefits generated by Friends and Newman include income generated from university operations, student spending, visitor spending, and student productivity. Several additional economic impact points can be viewed on the KICA website at