The University of Scranton is Major Force in Regional Economy
In the process of providing a nationally recognized education to more than 5,500 undergraduate and graduate students, The University of Scranton has a substantial positive impact on the region and its economy through voluntary contributions, employment, fees, taxes and a range of contributed services, according to a report issued by the school.
As one of Scranton’s largest employers, the University is the source of considerable annual fees and taxes paid to the City of Scranton. For example, 350 University employees who live in Scranton paid $500,629 in wage taxes and $85,547 in emergency services taxes in 2009 alone. The University’s bookstore and food service operations generated more than $22,000 in mercantile tax to the City and Scranton School District.
The University provides a voluntary contribution to the City of Scranton - $110,000 in 2009.
“The University of Scranton meets or exceeds all requirements for tax exemption in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” said Robert Farrell, Esq., executive director of community relations and public safety. “Nevertheless, the University is the most consistent nonprofit in the City to provide an unrestricted, voluntary contribution.”
The University’s voluntary contributions to the City have totaled more than $1.8 million since 1983. In 2009, taxes, fees and the voluntary contribution totaled $730,000.
The University’s estimated annual economic impact is $411,111,106, a figure established through an accepted formula in use by the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania. In addition, in a 2009 University survey, students reported off-campus spending of more than $175,000 each week across a number of categories (e.g. shopping, dining and entertainment).
In terms of job creation, The University of Scranton report found that 2,153 jobs can be directly or indirectly attributed to the Jesuit university’s presence. The figure is based on formulas that are consistent with those used by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The report shows that for each full-time employee at the University, 1.4 additional jobs are created in the local economy. As of the fall of 2009, the university employed 897 full-time faculty and staff.
In addition to annual contributions and taxes, building permits and business privilege taxes for the DeNaples Center, Condron Hall and the unified science center (under construction) generated $1,911,734 for the City over the past few years. A planned apartment/fitness complex will generate an estimated $460,000.
University departments, faculty and staff provide a range of services to the region and the City of Scranton. In just the last three years, The University of Scranton Small Business Development Center (SBDC) provided more than 650 consulting hours to 156 Scranton clients. These clients established 23 businesses creating 11 new jobs supported by $425,000 in financing secured based on business plans and projects developed through support by the SBDC.
The Edward R. Leahy Jr. Center Clinic for the Uninsured has provided free care to more than 3,000 patients since it opened in November 2007. The clinic is supported by 11 on-site volunteer doctors, 27 off-site specialists and six volunteer nurses. Nearly 100 University student volunteers have provided more than 2,200 hours of service. Other Leahy Center programs include the University of Success for local 8th through 12th grade students, Peacemakers After School Program for children ages 9 to 13, weekly counseling and physical therapy services, a nutrition clinic, and smoking cessation class.
The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Memorial Library, the leading academic library in Northeastern Pennsylvania, is available for free use anyone holding a Lackawanna County Library Card. Currently, the University has 477 such registered patrons.
Students, faculty and staff of the University are also involved in hundreds of community service and volunteer programs that have a positive impact on the region. In the 2008-2009 academic year alone, approximately 2,700 Scranton students provided more than 175,000 hours of volunteer service, much of it in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
In 2007, as an outgrowth of conversations with the Mayor and City Council, the University undertook an improvement project on Mulberry Street. The University’s investment grew through a plan developed in cooperation with Ayers Saint Gross, a nationally respected architectural firm in Baltimore, Md., and Burkavage Design Associates, a local architectural firm. The Mulberry Street Improvement Project is now a multi-million dollar project that will be completed in phases over the coming years. Phase one of the project is under way and set for completion in the summer for a total cost of $2.2 million.