Ohio University

Voinovich School professionals conduct Marietta College economic impact study

Marietta College contributed more than $55 million dollars to the Mid-Ohio Valley region in the 2017 fiscal year, according to an economic impact study conducted by Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs last fall.

Voinovich School economic development specialist Dr. Christelle Khalaf and associate professor of rural economic development Dr. Jason Jolley compiled the report [PDF] for the college. The report was released in October 2018.

“Marietta College has a unique position in the region as the only four-year liberal arts institution, and a residential college that attracts students from around the U.S. and the world,” said Dr. Bill Ruud, Marietta College’s 19th president. “We were encouraged to see from this recent study the impact and value Marietta College has on our local communities and businesses. The results of the report also help us emphasize our commitment and responsibility to be a vocal leader for a stronger community, and we are proud to be a key component of the local economy.”

Khalaf said the college was excited about the report’s findings, and both she and the college’s representatives consider it important to quantify how Marietta College impacted the two counties included in the analysis: Washington County, Ohio, and Wood County, West Virginia.

“The study confirmed to us that Marietta College is an anchor institution in the region,” Khalaf said. “It helps the community understand the value of having the college there in terms of the economic benefit it brings into the region, because if the college was not there, a lot of those benefits wouldn’t exist.”

The report breaks the college’s impact into four channels: university operations, student spending, visitor spending and construction. Those categories are further broken down into dollars contributed through direct impact and the total impact, which includes indirect sources of money contributed to the local economy.

To compile the report, Khalaf and Jolley first calculated the direct impact of Marietta College through employment, purchase of goods and expenses, and advertising and marketing. The duo then estimated the college’s indirect impact, or the ways in which dollars travel through additional outlets and industries beyond the college itself. Those impacts include money spent by Marietta College employees at local stores, spending by visitors, and building materials purchased by contractors for on-campus construction.

Khalaf and Jolley also compared their results to those from studies of similarly-sized learning institutions, and concluded that Marietta College compared well in its impact on the two counties.