Wichita State University and WSU Tech are key drivers of economic growth, fueling job creation, fostering industry partnerships, and supporting local businesses — and the numbers prove it. According to the 2022 Economic Impact Study, WSU and WSU Tech’s total economic impact in Kansas in 2021 was $1.3 billion.
The study, published recently by WSU’s Center for Economic Development and Business Research, used best practices laid out by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities and Association of American Universities.
WSU and WSU Tech’s impact on the Kansas economy is substantial and can be seen through a variety of metrics.
Faculty and staff
The combined 3,083 faculty and staff at both institutions, along with their operating expenses, support 5,293 jobs and generate $342 million in annual labor income. Furthermore, the direct spending on other operating expenditures in 2021 amounted to $262 million, resulting in a total economic impact from university employees of $557.2 million.
Student spending and tourism
It is important to note that the economic contributions go beyond operational expenses. Student spending and tourism activity also play significant roles in supporting local businesses. WSU students, estimated to have an impact of $603.7 million, contribute to the local economy by purchasing retail goods, food, entertainment and housing, resulting in an estimated impact of 4,555 jobs and $162 million in labor income.
The presence of WSU also attracts visitors who engage in various tourism activities, further bolstering the local economy. Although this study captures only a fraction of the full scope of tourism, the four components considered resulted in 230 jobs, $7.7 million in labor income, and $23.8 million in output.
In addition to these contributions, capital investments made by WSU and WSU Tech, including expenditures on equipment, software, vehicles and new buildings, accounted for $90.5 million in fiscal year 2021. These investments generated 1,580 jobs, $90.5 million in labor income, and a total output of $183 million in economic activity.
Adding the numbers together
When considering the total economic contribution, the expenditures from both academic units in 2021 amounted to $602.9 million. By dividing the total impact of $1.3 billion by direct spending, a multiplier of 2.27 is obtained. This demonstrates that for every million dollars spent, WSU and WSU Tech support an additional $1.27 million of economic activity among Kansas businesses.
As WSU and WSU Tech continue to expand their reach and make a positive difference in the community, we remain dedicated to fostering educational excellence, advancing the regional labor market, and driving economic growth in Kansas.
About Wichita State University
Wichita State University is Kansas' only urban public research university, enrolling almost 22,000 students between its main campus and WSU Tech, including students from every state in the U.S. and more than 100 countries. Wichita State and WSU Tech are recognized for being student centered and innovation driven.
Located in the largest city in the state with one of the highest concentrations in the United States of jobs involving science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), Wichita State University provides uniquely distinctive and innovative pathways of applied learning, applied research and career opportunities for all of our students.
The Innovation Campus, which is a physical extension of the Wichita State University main campus, is one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing research/innovation parks, encompassing over 120 acres and is home to a number of global companies and organizations.