Economic Impact of Post-Secondary Institutions in Rural Areas

Post-secondary institutions have a positive economic impact on surrounding communities and the province as a whole. In 2015/16, Alberta's Comprehensive Community Institutions (ACCI) reported contributing $4.8 billion to Alberta's economy with 43,520 jobs supported. ACCI members are primarily colleges located in rural areas within Alberta. Although these data do not include university campuses, a number of institutions have conducted campus-wide assessments (U of A and U of C). As a way to provide more localized knowledge about the impact of different university campuses, an Economic Impact Assessment of the University of Alberta's Augustana Faculty was recently completed using financial and student data from 2018-19. The Augustana Faculty is located in Camrose, Alberta, a city of just over 18,000 people. The results of this assessment are consistent with those of the ACCI and other similar initiatives: The presence of the Faculty and Campus have a significant local, regional and provincial economic impact. In 2018/19, the faculty contributed $111.7 Million to Alberta's economy and employed 360 people. Student spending for the same year was $20.02 Million and their visitors spent $1.36 Million in the local community.

Rurally-situated post-secondary institutions impact rural communities beyond their spending, and particularly through the Alumni Education Premium. Graduates earn a wage premium over those who have not completed a university education. Provincially, individuals who have graduated from an apprenticeship, diploma or degree program are better off financially than those who did not pursue further education after graduating from high school. The 2015/16 ACCI reports $4.1 billion in increased earnings of Alberta's alumni and the businesses they work for. The University of Alberta's Augustana Faculty contributed $50.25 million per year in additional earnings from graduates since 2007.

More information regarding the economic impact of post-secondary institutions can be found in the links below.

The University of Alberta Augustana Faculty Economic Impact Assessment
The University of Alberta Augustana Faculty Economic Impact Assessment Infographic
The Economic Impact of Post-Secondary Education in Canada
Alberta Colleges make Significant Impact on Provincial Economy
Economic Impact Assessment for St Francis Xavier University on the Nova Scotia Economy
Economic Impact Assessment for Brandon University
University of Regina Economic Impact Study
Economic Impact Assessment for Cape Breton University on Cape Breton Island
The University of Prince Edward Island Economic Impact Assessment
Lakehead University Economic Impact Study
Nipissing University Economic Impact Study
An Estimate of the Economic Impacts Generated by Memorial University of Newfoundland