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New study shows rising impact of Coastal Carolina University on state economy

June 22, 2017
Rob Salvino

The total economic impact of Coastal Carolina University on South Carolina was approximately $565.8 million ($1.5 million per day) in 2016, according to a new study by CCU’s Grant Center for Real Estate and Economic Development. The study was produced by CCU research economist Robert Salvino and research associate Trevor Tarleton.

CCU’s economic impact on the state has increased 12.0 percent during the past four years, according to a comparison of this year’s analysis with a comparable study released by Salvino in 2013. The previous study reported that CCU’s total economic impact was $498 million in 2012.

Highlights from the new study, titled “The Economic Impact of Coastal Carolina University on the South Carolina and Grand Strand Economies,” include the following impacts generated by CCU in 2016:

• $565.8 million in total output (sales)

• $198.7 million in labor income

• 3,914 full- and part-time jobs

In order to determine CCU’s total economic impact, the study examines general expenditures, budgeted and allocated construction expenditures, and estimates of student and visitor spending association with student population. These include:

• $176.3 million in University direct expenditures in the state economy

• $45 million in construction expenditures

• $135.3 million in student expenditures

• $6.1 million in visitor spending

The total economic impact is the summation of the direct expenditure and the indirect and induced spending that occurs as a result. Salvino estimates that each $1 of direct spending by CCU results in another $0.82 spent outside the university.

The report notes that CCU’s economic impact rose despite declining state appropriations. In 2007, the state appropriated $16.2 million to CCU’s budget. In 2017, the appropriation was $12 million. CCU receives less than 6 percent of its revenue from the state, yet has doubled its noncapital revenue in the last decade.

The study also notes that enrollment has increased by more than 130 percent since Coastal Carolina left the University of South Carolina system in 1993 and became an independent state university.

Salvino is associate professor of economics and associate director of CCU’s Grant Center for Real Estate and Economic Development. Tarleton is a research associate with the center.

The full study is available at Grant Center Publications.