Jon Marcus writes in the Hechinger Report that a growing number of colleges are taking aggressive steps to “prove something once taken for granted: their value and importance, in dollars-and-sense terms that consumers understand.”
Virginia Tech is one of them. It’s working with the Association of Public Land-Grant Universities’ Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness and Economic Prosperity to present the university’s economic impact in high-definition detail. Among its findings:
Commercially sponsored research at Tech totals $107,382,478, backed mostly by 143 transportation companies (including Nissan, Hyundai and Toyota).
An engineering student who chooses to stay in the region after graduating from Virginia Tech can expect to start at $49,000-$60,000 a year.
Football games pump $70 million annually into businesses in and around the Blacksburg, Virginia, community, which has a population of 42,620.
Quantifying and clearly communicating the specific value of college academic programs, research, events, arts centers, libraries, museums and more makes sense. It helps Tech and others tell their stories – and make their cases – as parents, students and policymakers scrutinize their investments in higher education like never before.