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April 21, 2009

UL System study reveals depth of ULM’s economic impact on region

University of Louisiana at Monroe President James Cofer, joined by business leaders and members of a university economic impact committee, rolled out the results of a study Tuesday showing the university as a major economic driver in the region.

ULM economist and committee member Bob Eisenstadt revealed some of the university’s powerful figures, including the $140 million in annual household income that ULM provides each year and the more than 4,500 full-time equivalent jobs, both direct and indirect, supplied by the university.

The university also generates about $350 million in annual economic activity, according to the study, though officials made clear that students were still the bottom line.

“It’s all about the added value of the people coming out of here, going out and doing creative things,” said Eisenstadt. “$350,000 million is a number … education is the impact.”

ULM, a member of the University of Louisiana System, faces potential budget cuts as state legislators wrangle over how to handle a revenue shortfall this year. Cofer said major cuts to the university would leave a gaping wound in the local economy, as the study’s results indicate.

“Most importantly, what we do here is create intellectual capital that becomes the primary driver of the economy,” Cofer said.

Business leaders joined Cofer in his assessment of the university as one of the region’s most powerful economic engines.

“I can’t imagine what the community would be like without it,” said retired State Farm Insurance Co. executive Guy Barr, calling ULM “the jewel of our community.”

Linda Holyfield, chief executive of P&S Surgical Hospital in Monroe, said her business couldn’t operate without the quality of graduates produced at the university. The hospital hires ULM graduates for everything from health care to accounting, she said.

Monroe Chamber of Commerce President Sue Nicholson said that intellectual capital is the primary issue she considers each time the chamber courts business prospects, saying ULM produces “the top tier of intellectual talent in our community’s work force.”

Applied Technology Research Corp., along with University of Louisiana System staff and research teams from each of the eight campuses conducted the study, which showed an overall annual impact of $3.4 billion from all eight universities in the system.

ULM's economic impact committee:

• Richard Hood, executive assistant to the president
• Robert Eisenstadt, professor of economics
• Paul Nelson, professor of economics
• Robin Logan, university planning and analysis
• Justin Roy, university planning and analysis
• Priscilla Turner, special events assistant
• Laura Harris, director of media relations

More information about ULM's Economic Impact Study can be found at

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