The growth of UNC Pembroke should be a top priority for everyone in this region for a lot of reasons.
This is the conclusion of a recently released publication on the present and future economic impact of the university on the surrounding community.
In this fiscal year, there are at least $55 million reasons why a university is a good thing to have around. That is the estimated financial impact of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke will have on the economy during the 1999-2000 fiscal year.
Chancellor Allen C. Meadors recently commissioned the study and publication.
"Finding that UNC Pembroke is an economic engine that pumps approximately $55.2 million into the economy should surprise no one," Chancellor Meadors said. "We have more than 500 staff and faculty members on the payroll, and many more working for us under other enterprises, such as food service, grants, construction and so on."
"I think it is important to point out that in addition to what UNCP is doing for the economy today, over the next eight years the contribution will far exceed what we are doing today."
Chancellor Meadors' financial analysis projects that in 2008 a growing university could be pumping almost $100 million annually into the economy.
"We have set assertive goals for the growth of this university," Chancellor Meadors said. "When we meet them, it will be because of the high quality of services that we provide for students."
"And, when we meet our goal of doubling the enrollment of this university, there will be a tremendous increase in our financial footprint in the area," he said.
The chancellor's analysis estimates an economic impact of $99.6 million in 2008. If enrollment doubles as is Chancellor Meadors' plan, more than 800 faculty and staff will be employed by the university.
The study uses no inflation factor or so-called "multiplier effect" that says money changes hands two-to-seven times in a local economy before leaving.
The study includes nearly $100 million in construction costs over the next eight years for new buildings, expanding existing facilities, infrastructure and repairing aging structures.
Payroll will grow from $23.5 million in 2000 to an estimated $37.6 million in 2008.
Student spending, calculated at $5,000 a year per full-time student, will double to $26.2 million by 2008. Economists and a consultant for the university say students spend that amount on food, gasoline, clothing, transportation, entertainment, medical care and other necessities. Off-campus housing, which should grow dramatically in the next eight years, is also part of that total.
"A growing enrollment translates into a student housing increase on and off-campus," Chancellor Meadors said. "There will some excellent opportunities in the future for housing development near campus."
"Of course, we will never lose sight of the first mission of higher education in enhancing of the value of our human capital," he said. "But I believe it is also important to accurately predict both the financial impact as well as the demands on all types of other resources that the future will bring to us all."
A copy of the "Economic Impact" brochure may be obtained by calling 910.521.6249.