Fresno State is a powerful economic driver in the Central Valley, pumping $716.9 million in business sales into the region according to a new report. The study, conducted by the Craig School of Business at Fresno State, measured the economic ripple effect of the University and its auxiliaries on job creation, sales for local firms, generated sales tax and employee and student spending.

The combined impact of Fresno State’s expenses supported 9,904 jobs and created $282.5 million in labor income for Valley residents.

“These findings speak to the extraordinary power of what we achieve together when the University and community work as one,” said Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro. “Fresno State prepares a highly educated and skilled workforce to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving regional and state economy. The University is an outstanding investment of taxpayer dollars, giving back far more than it receives.”

The study, conducted by Dr. Antonio Avalos, chair of the Department of Economics at Fresno State, measured the impact of the University as averaged during the 2013-14 and 2014-15 fiscal years. It found that earning a Fresno State degree has tremendous value for both alumni and the community as a whole.

Enhanced future earnings of the average Fresno State graduate are 4.1 times greater than the cost of tuition to the student, and it takes an average of just 6.6 years for graduates to pay off the entire personal cost of their education through that added income. The additional state and local taxes generated by those enhanced earnings are 2.3 times greater than what it cost the state to provide the education. This all translates to a 6.75 percent return on the investment of taxpayer funds to Fresno State.

“We set a bold goal to dramatically increase our graduation rate and this report makes clear why it is so vital to the future of the Valley’s economic health,” Castro said. “Census data shows that an increase of 10 percentage points in undergraduate degree attainment produces an increase of more than $11,000 in the median household income across the state. Higher education is the key to unlocking economic prosperity for our community.”

The University also touches the Central Valley through volunteerism. For more than a decade, students, faculty and staff have contributed more than 1 million hours of service each year. The estimated economic value of that service now surpasses $36 million annually.  

Other key findings:

  • The $93.4 million earned and spent by employees of Fresno State and its auxiliaries produced a total impact of $96.5 million in business sales in the community.
  • The impact of University-related spending is seen primarily in retail trade, health and social services, finance and insurances services and real estate.

The total estimated annual tax revenue generated by University-related activities for the State of California and the governments of Fresno, Madera, Kings and Tulare counties is greater than $40 million.