Schools have $2 billion impact on S.D.

Ellen Nelson

Ellen NelsonNews Editor

A recent study’s results shows the six public South Dakota Board of Regents institutions have a nearly $2 billion economic impact in the state by the amount of jobs and opportunities they provide.

The results of this first ever, comprehensive study was released to the public on Monday, Sept. 20 and has reaffirmed the significance of South Dakota’s higher education system. The study shows that an annual generated $1.97 billion economic significance results from a $176 million state investment.

“We’ve always been aware of the significance that our institutions have throughout our state and have made assumptions of its impact,” said Janelle Toman, director of communications for the SDBOR. “Now these numbers confirmed the tremendous impact that they (the universities) have across the state,” Toman said.

The report was conducted at The University of South Dakota Beacom School of Business and took about six months, Toman said.

It shows that 5,325 full-time jobs in South Dakota exist because of the universities and an additional 9,432 in state jobs are available due to university-generated business which helps the local economy of the cities where the universities are located.

“This report confirms that our public universities contribute in vital and substantial ways to South Dakota’s economic development and quality of life,” said Jack R. Warner, executive director and CEO of the SDBOR.

Some of the SDBOR staff was surprised at the results, Toman said. They were not the only ones.

“Two billion dollars is definitely a higher amount than what I would’ve guessed,” said Elliot Kinnander, a junior agriculture business major. “It’d be interesting to see how we do against other states.”

Difficulty arises when trying to compare these numbers with other state’s universities impact level, Toman said.

“Each study has its own methodology so it’s difficult to compare this study with other universities,” Toman said. In the past, individual studies have been done on specific institutions but never a comprehensive analysis she said.

According to the results of the study, more than 42,800 people live in South Dakota who would not be here without the state’s six SDBOR universities.

The Government Research Bureau conducted the study and the lead researcher of the study was Dr. Michael Allgrunn, an assistant professor of economics at USD. The BOR sponsored the study and results will be updated periodically. A full report of data the study resulted is available at

Financial Fun Facts

$182 million is generated by public universities in direct economic impact through daily operations and consumption of goods and services.

$30.6 million is added to the state’s economy by public university visitors through off-campus spending such as athletic events and performances.

$233 million in tuition and fees are paid by students while attending college in South Dakota, while an additional $192 million is spent on other goods and services.

Last year, South Dakota received more than $142 million in revenue for research and development projects at universities, given by federal and private grants and contracts.