From 2006 to 2011, Colorado College contributed $839 million to the state’s economy—a great feat considering the school’s size.
The GDP from the study, conducted by senior Aradhya Sood in the summer of 2012, included both direct and indirect contributions, which totaled $839 million.
Sood, a math-economics major from Shimla, India, was one of a group of students President Tiefenthaler asked to research the economics of higher education. Economics professors Dan Johnson and Kevin Rask — Tiefenthaler’s husband — worked with the group.
“I think people in [Colorado Springs] don’t understand what we bring to the community,” Vice President of Finance and Administration Robert Moore said. “Yes, we’re a small college—but we’re an expensive small college.”
Many of Sood’s findings rely on the output methodology—the economics theory that posits that everything in an economy is interconnected. The output methodology can be demonstrated by the indirect effects CC’s hockey program has on the economy. Sood estimates the expenditure of all athletic visitors in the past five years to be $1,648,109, which doesn’t include the “entertainment value” the hockey games provide for non-CC students in Colorado Springs.
The $839 million is split between four categories: “spending on operations (educational services, performance arts, athletic events, broadcasting, investments, etc,), which totals $598 million; capital projects (construction, utilities, oil and gas, etc,), totalling almost $50 million; student spending in the community (groceries, goods, etc,) which total nearly $173 million; and the amount visitors to the college spent in that time:,$18 million,” says the study’s executive summary.
CC employed on average 1,361 full- and part-time faculty and staff each year, creating an annual average of 1,080 additional jobs in Colorado. Including operations, capital projects, and student and visitor expenditures, “2,717 jobs were created annually,” said the study, “for a total of about $74 million in earnings each year, or a total of $372 million and 13,587 jobs over the five years.”
Between 2006 and 2011, for every dollar CC spent through operations, capital projects, and student/visitor spending, another 69 cents went into Colorado’s economy. For every dollar a CC student spent, another $1.16 went into the economy, and the “average CC student spent $752 a month off-campus.” Student spending alone created, on average, 150 jobs per year, or 751 jobs over the five-year period.
Students in CC’s MAT program contribute the most to the local economy, spending, on average, over $1,600 a month, followed by off-campus students, who spend $1,200 a month. In total, the student expenditure sums to $79 million over the five-year period, resulting in a total output of $172 million, with an indirect impact of $93 million.
Sood didn’t forget about parents, guests, and alums, who spent $11 million over the five years. For every dollar they spent, another 30 cents were added to the state economy, translating to 36 jobs every year.
The study also looked at the impact of “brain gain,” or as Tiefenthaler put it: “human capital.”
Many CC graduates choose to stay in Colorado, helping local economies, working on “school boards and committees,” said Tiefenthaler. Sood cited three CC alums who founded Lexidyne, LLC, a consulting firm in Colorado Springs as an example of what graduates bring to the local economy.
In the last 34 years, the study found, around 8,000 alumni became residents of Colorado, many of whom add to Colorado’s creative class. The creative class, Sood describes, citing the economist Richard Florida, is a “fast-growing, highly-educated, and well paid segment of the workforce on whose efforts the workforce profit and economic growth increasingly depends.”
The creative class includes, but is not limited to, journalists, doctors, and lawyers.
“There was a report last year on my blog,” said Tiefenthaler, “that showed that we were one of the top five non-profits in Colorado Springs.”
Over the five-year period, the 77,202 hours of community service CC did equates to 37-full time service workers, with an average of 8 workers per year.
Sood, who is currently conducting her thesis—a study that is examining different methodologies for entering data—is planning on applying to PhD programs in economics.
“The positive impact we have on the community feeds back to the college,” Tiefenthaler said, “The more we try to have a great Colorado Springs, the greater CC will be.”
Brian LeMeur, Staff Writer