Higher Ed

Rowan’s Economic Impact Continues to Climb

Recent growth at Rowan University – from new academic buildings to increased housing options to added programs and faculty – did more than just impact students and the campuses in Gloucester and Camden counties.

That growth, and the ripple effect from it, is bolstering the economy of Glassboro, South Jersey and the State.

A recent economic impact analysis by private research firm Econsult Solutions to update its 2015 study pegs that impact at $1.53 billion. Rowan directly supports 4,460 jobs at the University and close to 7,000 jobs indirectly in New Jersey each year, making it a major driver of economic development in the region and the State.

Commissioned by the University, the report also indicates:

  • Rowan’s statewide economic impact has increased 24 percent – from $1.23 billion – since 2015.
  • Rowan has undertaken $298 million in capital (construction) investments during the past 4.5 years.
  • Rowan students spend an additional $128 million a year throughout the State, in addition to tuition, fees, and room and board.
  • Alumni living and working in New Jersey earn about an additional $197 million annually due to the education and credentials they received from Rowan.

“We have long been committed to provide not only an accessible and affordable education to our students but also to help the region’s economy grow,” said Dr. Ali Houshmand, Rowan’s president. “These findings underscore the critical role higher education plays in the State’s economy.”

The report estimates the impact from Rowan’s operations, capital investments, ancillary student spending and the wage premium earned by alumni.

The impact is dramatic in Glassboro, where most of Rowan’s more than 19,500 students pursue their degrees. In Glassboro, Rowan generates approximately $136 million in total output, supporting 1,200 jobs outside the institution and contributing to $62 million in earnings.

Partners’ Investments Boost Economy Further

In addition to direct spending by the University, Rowan affiliates and partners have undertaken projects closely aligned with the University, such as the $426 million mixed-use Rowan Boulevard and Inspira’s new $350 million hospital. These are not calculated as part of Rowan’s economic impact, but they are just as important, and they would not have happened without the University, Houshmand indicated. Those facilities provide temporary construction jobs and offer long-term employment opportunities, as well generate income and tax dollars.

The report states: “Rowan’s most direct and consistent contribution to the economy is through its expanding annual operations. Its ongoing operations and payroll to its employees support jobs and businesses within southern New Jersey and throughout the State. Since 1992, the University’s operating budget has grown at a remarkable pace: more than eight-fold from $63 million to $516 million today . . . In addition to being a major employer in the South Jersey region, Rowan is a significant purchaser of goods and services from local and state vendors.” That direct spending creates a multiplier effect by procuring goods and services and supporting employment for vendors, with Rowan further boosting the economy via employees who spend their earnings locally.

Steep Growth Beyond Capital Investments

Rowan, a Carnegie research institution, and the sixth-fastest-growing research institution in the nation, contributes to the economy in other ways as well.

The economic impact study reflects the financial aspect of Rowan’s growth. There is more to the University’s effect on the region, however. Rowan in the last eight years:

  • Hired more than 270 tenure-track faculty (since 2011) from across the country
  • Earned Carnegie R2 status in rapid succession following attainment of R3 (Moderate Research Activity) classification in 2016.
  • Added more than 7,000 students to enroll more than 19,500 in the last seven years.
  • Partnered with regional leaders to open a health sciences center in 2019 in Camden, which will conduct innovative life sciences research.
  • Awarded the first $5 million of a $50 million pledge for groundbreaking medical and bioscience research in Camden
  • Kept increases in undergraduate tuition at or below the rate of inflation since 2014.

“Rowan’s rapid growth over the past seven years has also led to the creation of new academic programs from associate degrees at partner community colleges to doctoral programs here at the university,” said Houshmand. “The impact these programs will have on the lives of our students and their families is incalculable.”

To access more business news, visit NJB News Now.

Related Articles: