Few people would be surprised to hear that Olds College is a big contributor to the local economy. But the size of that contribution might raise eyebrows: $143.6 million.
That’s the figure calculated by research company Economic Modeling Specialists Inc. (EMSI), in an 86-page report it prepared for the college.
Using data from 2011-12, EMSI determined that Olds College spent some $43 million on wages and other operational expenditures that year, while the approximately 158 students from outside the area who attended the college contributed nearly $900,000 more.
A much bigger financial impact related to the higher earnings and increased productivity of Olds College graduates working in the region. EMSI placed this figure at $99.7 million.
“In 2011-12, the college employed faculty and staff equivalent to 348 full-time employees,” said the report of the college’s direct expenditures.
“Of these, 87 per cent lived in the Olds College service area. Total payroll at Olds College was $29 million, much of which was spent in the region for groceries, eating out, clothing and other household expenses.”
It added that the college spent $24.4 million in 2011-12 to cover expenses for facilities, professional services and supplies.
The $43-million figure was reached after a multiplier effect was applied and an adjustment made for funding received from local sources.
EMSI also calculated that Alberta as a whole received $290.3 million in added income due to Olds College’s operations, and saved $2.4 million in social costs as a result of reduced crime, lower unemployment and improved health across the province.
“This report quantifies what many in our region intuitively suspected,” Kathy Kimpton, Olds College’s vice-president of student and support services, said in a release issued by the college.
“This economic impact modelling lends support to the notion that the college is another driving force in our region in what is truly a virtuous circle.”
Economic Modeling Specialists International has completed more than 1,200 economic impact studies for educational institutions since 2000. It’s based in Moscow, Idaho.