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Economic Impact

SMSU's Economic Impact Estimated at $286.5 Million

Impact of Southwest Minnesota State University infographicMinnesota State, the system of 26 state colleges and seven state universities, released today the results of a study that estimates the impact of Southwest Minnesota State University on the regional economy to be $286.5 million and 2,248 jobs.

“At Southwest Minnesota State University, our top priority is the success of our students and through that SMSU is able to play a vital role in both the state and the regional economies,” said Bill Mulso, Vice-President for Government Relations, Communications and Marketing. “Our operations and the economic activity generated by our faculty, staff, and students touch virtually every corner of our regional economy including education, health care, hospitality, childcare services, business, and retail.”

The study was commissioned by Minnesota State and was conducted by Parker Philips, a nationally recognized consulting firm specializing in economic impact analysis.

“An economic contribution analysis is an objective way to measure the significance of an organization in the regional economy; it is a useful tool that policymakers can use to inform their decisions,” said Nichole Parker, President of Parker Philips. “The numbers speak for themselves — SMSU is clearly an important contributor to the regional economy.”

In the analysis, the study considered the direct spending on operations, pay, benefits, and capital projects by SMSU and the estimated increase in demand for goods and services in industry sectors that supply or support the university. The study also measured the effect of student spending and the induced effect of increased household income.

According to the study, a key result of this activity is that SMSU supports and sustains 2,248 jobs including direct employment by the university as well as indirect and induced jobs created by supply and equipment vendors, contractors, and laborers for the construction and renovation of facilities, and jobs created in the community at hotels, restaurants, and retail stores in support of the university’s faculty, staff, students, and visitors.

The study also calculated tax revenues generated by this level of economic activity, including sales, property, personal income, and corporate income taxes. The study concluded that SMSU generates about $23.4 million in tax revenues for state and local governments.

The study further estimated the value of the increase in productivity that the degrees awarded by SMSU yield throughout the careers of the graduates. Each year, Southwest Minnesota State University alumni generate $424.5 million in economic impact for Minnesota and support and sustain 2,309 jobs. Over their 40-year careers, SMSU alumni will generate $17 billion in the economy. 

“SMSU continues to contribute to the regional economy with every graduating class,” said Mulso. “Knowledge and productivity from higher education sustain that contribution for a graduate’s entire career. The impact is even greater when those alumni stay in the region to work and raise families.”

Statewide, all Minnesota State operations, including all seven state universities and 26 community and technical colleges, plus the spending of its faculty, staff, and students, had a total statewide economic contribution of $8.4 billion. This activity generated an estimated 62,125 jobs in the state


The economic contribution report for SMSU is available to view and download:   Economic Impact, January 2023 Report . For the system-wide report, visit:

About Southwest Minnesota State University

By providing an inclusive and student-centered learning environment, Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU) prepares its students to solve complex challenges and become engaged citizens in their local and global communities. SMSU’s comprehensive degree programs, rooted in the liberal arts, connect academic and professional development with the wider world, producing leaders who excel in their fields. About the Minnesota State system, Minnesota State includes 26 community and technical colleges and seven state universities serving approximately 300,000 students. It is the fourth-largest system of two-year colleges and four-year universities in the United States. 

About the Minnesota State system

Minnesota State includes 26 community and technical colleges and seven state universities serving approximately 300,000 students. It is the fourth-largest system of two-year colleges and four-year universities in the United States.

Last Modified: 11/8/23 10:18 AM | Website Feedback