Study estimates Urbana University has $60.4 million economic impact

12:30 p.m Friday, Dec. 29, 2017 Community News
Urbana University recently unveiled its economic impact on the local area. JEFF GUERINI/STAFF

Urbana University provided more than $60 million to the economies of Champaign and Logan Counties for the 2015 to 2016 school year, according to a report released earlier this month by a regional consortium of colleges and universities.

The 2017 economic impact study by the Southwestern Ohio Council for Higher Education considered the university’s impacts from operations, student spending in the community and capital investment.

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“Urbana University is an invaluable economic development partner in our county,” said Marcia Bailey, economic development coordinator for the Champaign Economic Partnership.”Their aggressive approach to developing collaborations has been a true differentiator in driving the regional economy.”

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The CEP acts as the economic development agency for Champaign County.

SOCHE produced a similar report for Clark State Community College, which showed that entity contributed about $160 million to the region’s economy in 2016.

Officials from Urbana University could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

“Through changing times and economic climates, our institution has continued to provide the quality training and education needed for individuals to better themselves, their careers and their lives,” said Christopher Washington, Urbana University’s executive vice president in a press release. “Through internships and other immersive work experiences, our students are connecting with in-demand industries and employers to advance our regional economy.”

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Just a few years ago, the university teetered on the edge of closing its doors for good in the midst of lean enrollment and poor finances. Franklin University in Columbus acquired the smaller campus in 2014. As part of the deal, Urbana now functions as a division of Franklin, but retains its name.

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Urbana had been under academic probation since November 2014. But that was wiped away in July this year when Franklin University received approval by the Higher Learning Commission to make Urbana University a branch campus.

The SOCHE report included factors such as the impact of operations, student spending and capital investment.

The university enrolled about 4,000 students and directly employed 150 full-and part-time workers in the 2015 to 2016 school year, according to information from the university.

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