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    Economic Impact of the Nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities

    U.S. Department of Education NCES 2007-178 Technical Report

    October 2006

  • Economic Impact of the Nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities

    U.S. Department of Education NCES 2007-178 Technical Report

    October 2006

    Jeffrey Humphreys University of Georgia

    Roslyn Korb Project Officer National Center for Education Statistics

  • U.S. Department of Education Margaret Spellings Secretary

    Institute of Education Sciences Grover J. Whitehurst Director

    National Center for Education Statistics Mark Schneider Commissioner The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is the primary federal entity for collecting, analyzing, and reporting data related to education in the United States and other nations. It fulfills a congressional mandate to collect, collate, analyze, and report full and complete statistics on the condition of education in the United States; conduct and publish reports and specialized analyses of the meaning and significance of such statistics; assist state and local education agencies in improving their statistical systems; and review and report on education activities in foreign countries. NCES activities are designed to address high-priority education data needs; provide consistent, reliable, complete, and accurate indicators of education status and trends; and report timely, useful, and high-quality data to the U.S. Department of Education, the Congress, the states, other education policymakers, practitioners, data users, and the general public. Unless specifically noted, all information contained herein is in the public domain. We strive to make our products available in a variety of formats and in language that is appropriate to a variety of audiences. You, as our customer, are the best judge of our success in communicating information effectively. If you have any comments or suggestions about this or any other NCES product or report, we would like to hear from you. Please direct your comments to

    National Center for Education Statistics Institute of Education Sciences U.S. Department of Education 1990 K Street NW Washington, DC 20006-5651

    October 2006 The NCES World Wide Web Home Page address is The NCES World Wide Web Electronic Catalog is Suggested Citation Humphreys, J. (2005). Economic Impact of the Nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (NCES 2007– 178). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. For ordering information on this report, write

    U.S. Department of Education ED Pubs P.O. Box 1398 Jessup, MD 20794-1398

    or call toll free 1-877-4ED-Pubs or order online at Content Contact Roslyn Korb (202) 502-7378 [email protected]

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    Executive Summary There is widespread recognition within the academic community of the need to inform various constituencies of the economic value that colleges and universities convey to their host communities. This report examines data from the National Center for Education Statistics and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to determine the short-term economic impact of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) on their regional economies. The economic impact analysis results help to document the economic roles that HBCUs play in their communities. The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, defines an HBCU as: “…any historically black college or university that was established prior to 1964, whose principal mission was, and is, the education of black Americans.” There are 103 HBCUs operating in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, and 101 are Title IV institutions. Many HBCUs are located in the South and are near areas with relatively low levels of economic well-being, where the generation of economic activity is particularly important. The short-term economic impact of an HBCU is defined as the change in overall economic activity that is associated with HBCU-related spending. For each HBCU, economic impacts were estimated for four important categories of college/university- related expenditures: (1) spending by the institutions for wages and salaries, (2) spending by the institutions for other budget categories (e.g., outlays for items other than wages and salaries), (3) spending by undergraduate students who attended the institutions, and (4) spending by the graduate and professional students who attended the institutions.

    The economic impact estimates are based on regional input-output models of each HBCU’s regional economy. The IMPLAN (Impact Analysis for Planning) Professional Version 2.0 modeling system, developed by the Minnesota IMPLAN Group, Inc. (2003), was applied to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and Consumer Expenditure Survey data to calculate the economic impact of HBCUs within their region. IMPLAN was used to calculate four indicators of impact—total output, total value added, total labor income, and total employment—for each category of initial spending. In addition to providing impact results for calendar year 2001, the report includes templates that can easily be used to provide impact results for subsequent years as data are made available. Some of the major findings from the analysis include:

    • The combined initial spending of all 101 HBCUs in their host communities totaled $6.6 billion. Public HBCUs accounted for 62 percent of this total amount while not-for-profit HBCUs accounted for the remaining 38 percent.

    • The total economic impact of the nation’s HBCUs was $10.2 billion in 2001. The input-output model estimated that 65 percent of this total was initial spending by the institutions and students, while the remaining 35 percent was the induced/respending impact, or multiplier effect. To put that into perspective, it is interesting to note that in terms of output (revenues), the nation’s HBCUs would rank 232nd on the Forbes Fortune 500 list of the United States’ largest companies.

  • Executive Summary


    • The 101 HBCUs collectively generated a value-added (or gross regional product) impact of $6 billion in 2001.

    • Collectively, HBCUs generated a labor income impact of $4 billion in 2001, including all forms of employment income, such as wages, salaries, and proprietors’ incomes. The labor income received by residents of the communities that host one or more HBCUs represents 73 percent of the value-added impact and 66 percent of initial spending.

    • The total employment impact of the 101 HBCU institutions included 180,142 total full- and part-time jobs in 2001. To put that into perspective, it is interesting to note that the rolled-up employment impact of the nation’s HBCUs exceeds the 177,000 jobs at the Bank of America in 2006, which is the nation’s 23rd largest private employer.

    • Public 4-year HBCUs generated 105,482 jobs while public 2-year institutions generated 9,353 jobs. Among private, not-for-profit HBCUs, 4-year institutions generated 64,785 jobs while 2-year institutions generated 522 jobs.

    • Because most HBCUs are located in large- to medium-sized metropolitan areas that have very diverse economic bases, their economic impacts typically constituted a small share of total

    economic activity in their respective regional economies. There were some exceptions, however. For example, the 2,147 jobs that owe their existence to Tuskegee University accounted for 24 percent of total employment in its regional economy. Similarly, Fort Valley State University and Grambling State University accounted for 14 percent and 10 percent of the jobs in their regional economies, respectively. This overall finding is to be expected. In the United States, most regional economies no longer depend on a handful of large employers, but are extremely diversified.

    All of these results quantify the important impacts that spending associated with the presence of an HBCU has on its host community. HBCUs create economic impacts in terms of output, value-added, labor income, and employment. Future research could be conducted to evaluate the many long-term impacts of HBCUs on the economic development of the host communities. For example, a college or university improves the skills of its graduates, thereby increasing their productivity and lifetime earnings. Additional research also could be conducted to measure short-term expenditures that were not estimated in this study, such as spending by visitors or retirees of HBCUs.

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    The author extends his thanks to all of those who contributed to this report. I am grateful

    for the feedback, comments, and data provided by Roslyn Korb, Cathy Statham, and Samuel Barbett at the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). I would particularly like to thank Basmat Parsad and Denise Glover at Westat for their support throughout this project.

    I also would like to acknowledge the careful review and thoughtful comments provided by

    the following individuals at various stages of the study: Paula Knepper, Michelle Coon, an