TCUs contribute millions to North Dakota economy

Aug 11th, 2013 | By | Category: 25-1: Art & Symbolism, Tribal College News

Perhaps unsurprisingly, North Dakota’s five tribal colleges generate millions of dollars for the state’s economy. A report commissioned by the North Dakota Association of Tribal Colleges says roughly $182 million was generated last year alone. The report measures the collective economic impact of the state’s five tribal colleges: Cankdeska Cikana Community College in Fort Totten, Fort Berthold Community College in New Town, Sitting Bull College in Fort Yates, Turtle Mountain Community College in Belcourt, and United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck.

Randal C. Coon, Dean A. Bangsund, and Nancy M. Hodur, all with the Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics at North Dakota State University, prepared the report, entitled “Economic Contribution of North Dakota’s Tribal Colleges in 2012.” They found that the five colleges collectively spent over $48 million in fiscal year 2012 for goods and services, and wages and salaries. These direct expenditures were analyzed for their economic effect in eight different sectors of the state’s economy.

Over half, $29 million, went to wages and salaries. Total employment at the colleges was 815 full-time and 209 part-time workers. The researchers estimate the secondary impact on the economy to be $94 million, and found that business activity generated by tribal college expenditures supports an additional 392 secondary jobs in various sectors of the North Dakota economy.

The authors further note that student spending for living expenses adds to the economic impact. The 4,252 full-time students of the five colleges spent $15.9 million for personal items, recreation, books, supplies, and room and board for the 2011-2012 academic year. Student spending produced a secondary economic effect of $23.6 million, with a large share spent in the communities where the institutions are located.

The report concludes that a higher education is associated with higher earnings potential, employer-provided health care, and job stability. The study also identified social benefits such as lower stress, healthier lifestyle choices, job satisfaction, and future children benefits. Citing another study, the report notes that the economic strength of the nation is maintained when all students are equitably provided with a quality education.

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