June 06, 2023

L&C Generates Economic Impact for Oregon and for Graduates

Lewis & Clark is one of 12 schools that generated an economic impact of $3.5 billion to the state of Oregon during fiscal year 2020-21. An average bachelor’s degree graduate from the same time period is expected to see annual earnings that are $35,700 higher than those of an Oregon high school graduate.

Graduation mortar board cap on one hundred dollar bills

Lewis & Clark is one of 12 member schools of the Oregon Alliance of Independent Colleges & Universities (The Alliance) that helped generate an annual economic impact to the state of Oregon of $3.5 billion during fiscal year 2020–21, according to a new report by Lightcast.

In addition, the report noted that member institutions’ graduates will receive a stream of higher future earnings that will continue to grow throughout their working lives. For example, their average bachelor’s degree graduate from FY 2020–21 will see annual earnings that are $35,700 higher than a person with a high school diploma or equivalent working in Oregon. Over a working lifetime, the benefits of the bachelor’s degree over a high school diploma will amount to an undiscounted value of $1.5 million in higher earnings per graduate.

President Holmes-Sullivan headshot, smiling at the camera. President Robin Holmes-Sullivan
Credit: Nina Johnson
“We know that Lewis & Clark’s programs and initiatives have a tremendous positive impact on our students and graduates, as well as on the city, region and state. It’s great to see it illustrated in hard numbers,” said Robin Holmes-Sullivan, president of Lewis & Clark. “To me, the report’s main takeaway is that Oregon’s private colleges and universities are a public good. Investing in higher ed pays major dividends for Oregonians.”

In FY 2020–21, Oregon invested $1.1 billion to support The Alliance member institutions. In turn, the Oregon economy will grow by $7.3 billion over the course of students’ working lives. Further report highlights include:

  • A total impact on the Oregon economy of $3.5 billion in added income, which equates to 43,396 jobs supported. For perspective, the activities of the member institutions and their students support one out of every 59 jobs in Oregon.
  • A cumulative present value of $3.1 billion in increased earnings over student’s working lives. This translates to a return of $3.50 in higher future earnings for every dollar students invest in their education.
  • In total, taxpayers gain $929.4 million in added tax revenue and public sector savings.
  • A net impact of $2.9 billion in added income from The Alliance’s former students currently employed in the state workforce.
  • The expenditures of relocated and retained students added $114.1 million in income to the Oregon economy.
  • Brought $26 million of added income to the state of Oregon through visitor spending impact.

In addition, the investment analysis revealed that for every $1 students gain $3.50 in lifetime earnings and society gains $6.90 in added income and social savings.

The Alliance logo “The Alliance’s members are vital contributors to Oregon’s economy, with a larger impact than the entirety of Oregon’s utilities industry,” said President Miles K. Davis of Linfield University and chair of The Alliance. “Private, nonprofit colleges and universities play a crucial role in the education landscape by offering diverse academic programs, smaller class sizes, and specialized resources that contribute to a well-rounded learning experience. Their economic impact matters as it fuels job creation, generates revenue, and fosters innovation, benefiting not only students but also making a significant contribution to the state’s economy. This report underscores the remarkable return on investment Oregon receives from The Alliance member colleges and universities.”

The Alliance’s Economic Value Report