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ASU Chancellor Speaks About Economic Impact University has on Region

By Jesse Wood

Appalachian State University Chancellor Sheri Everts spoke about the college’s economic impact in the High Country and North Carolina at a Boone Area Chamber’s “Business After Hours” event at the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts on Thursday.

Before Everts spoke, Chamber President Dan Meyer, who repeated a joke about Appalachian State University being the 800-pound gorilla in the room, gave Everts some bananas to laughter from the audience.

Everts based her presentation on a study conducted by the Idaho-based company Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI) for the University of North Carolina system.

In February, the UNC General Administration released the report, which noted that a dollar spent on education at Appalachian State University yielded $6.40 in benefits to taxpayers or a 15.9 percent return on investment.

Everts said that taxpayers, locally and in the state, invested $149.7 million in Appalachian State University in the 2012-13 fiscal year. She said the return “on this investment is added tax revenue stemming from students’ higher lifetime incomes, and the increased output of businesses” amounted to $757.8 million.

“These numbers clearly illustrate that higher education in North Carolina, and Appalachian in particular, is a wise investment,” Everts said.

“I am guessing you expected me to say that,” she joked.

Here are some other highlights from the report, according to release from ASU:

  • Payroll benefits to ASU’s 3,718 employees in 2012-13 totaled $215.2 million
  • Net impact in new income for the state as employees purchased goods, services in state totaled $251.1 million.
  • Spending on day-to-day operations and research totaled $140.1 million.
  • Out-of-state students added $18 million in income to the state’s economy
  • Students attending ASU can expect to earn an extra $3.70 for each dollar invested in their education

Everts also noted that since 2004, Appalachian State University students have contributed $436,000 to nonprofits.

“The value of student service is enormous,” Everts said.

Ben Shoemake, a member of the Watauga County Economic Development Commission, spoke briefly about the importance of Appalachian State University on the region’s economy.

“Cleary we all benefit from this economy,” Shoemake said. “Because of [ASU’s] placement and strength, we’ve become the economic driver for the region in Western North Carolina.”

Both Everts and Shoemake noted that they want to continue the partnerships that have been formed over the years between the university and business leaders.

A fact sheet about Appalachian’s economic value to the state is at http://www.appstate.edu/about/economic-value-fact-sheet.pdf.

See photos by Ken Ketchie from the event below:

The Turchin Center for the Visual Arts in Boone hosted the reception.


ASU Chancellor Sheri Everts stands with Boone Chamber President Dan Meyer, who is holding bananas, joking that ASU is the “800-pound gorilla in the room.”