Ohio Independent Universities Bolster Economy

by Brandon Best, Public Relations Writer

Ohio’s independent colleges are playing an increasingly significant role in their local economies. A recent report from the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Ohio (AICUO) showed that Ohio’s private colleges and universities contributed more than $2 billion to their local economies in 2014 through salaries and benefits to employees. 

The economic impact of private institutions has risen nearly 40 percent in the last 10 years. Ohio’s private colleges and universities contributed nearly $1.5 billion in 2004, but added almost $2.1 billion to the state’s economy last year. Ohio’s private universities also employ more than 30,000 people.

“Universities definitely provide a lot of stability to the community,” said Bert Wheeler, Ph.D., professor of economics. But Wheeler added universities also present a benefit that exceeds the basic economic impact.

“Having young people here who are trying to better themselves creates a lot of benefit for the community that can’t be measured in dollars-and-cents,” Wheeler said. 

“In addition, there is a wonderful atmosphere unique to university towns. Campuses create an intellectual environment and attractive culture,” Wheeler added. “After I retire, I would love to live in a university town for the atmosphere.”

AICUO supports 51 Ohio colleges and universities by representing members’ interests to Ohio’s lawmakers and citizens. The association promotes greater understanding of the impact private universities have on their surrounding communities and in the lives of their students.

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 3,711 undergraduate, graduate, and online students in more than 100 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and leading student satisfaction ratings.