Economic Impact Study

Creating a Strong & Inclusive Illinois Economy 

Chicago State University contributes $1.6 billion to the Illinois economy annually, supporting 17,525 jobs. As our alumni and employer partners know, CSU is a driving force in Illinois’ economy, educating diverse talent who are leading in the fields of education, business, health sciences, science and technology, the arts, and more. 

Our students’ lives are changed with an education from Chicago State University. Our bachelor degree graduates each earn additional $843,000 over the course of their professional careers. This means a return of $5.00 in increased future earnings for every $1 a student invests in their education at CSU. 

A new report, conducted by labor market analytics firm Emsi, indicated that our Cougar graduates are not only influencers in their respective industries; they are also a driving force in the Illinois economy.




Spending Impact


Operations Spending

  • CSU employed 672 full-time and part-time faculty and staff (excluding research employees). Payroll amounted to $73.4 million (excluding payroll from research employees), much of which was spent in the state for groceries, mortgage and rent payments, dining out, and other household expenses. The university spent another $19.8 million on day-to-day expenses related to facilities, supplies, and professional services (excluding research expenditures).
  • The net impact of the university’s operations spending added $85.2 million in income to the state economy in Fiscal Year (FY) 2018-19.

Research Spending Impact

  • Research activities at CSU impacted the state economy by employing people and making purchases for equipment, supplies, and services. In FY 2018-19, CSU spent $3.1 million on payroll and $7.8 million on other expenses to support research activities.
  • CSU’s research spending generated $14.5 million in added income for the Illinois economy in FY 2018-19

Student Spending Impact

  • Around 8% of students who attended CSU originated from outside the state. Some of these students relocated to Illinois. In addition, some in-state students would have left Illinois for other educational opportunities if not for CSU. 
  • The spending from students outside of Illinois generated $6.7 million in added income for the state economy.




Investment Impact 

facts 2

Student Perspecitve

  • CSU’s FY 2018-19 students paid a present value of $23 million to cover the cost of tuition, fees, supplies, and interest on student loans. They also forwent $34.8 million in money that they would have earned had they been working instead of attending college.
  • In return for their investment, students received $288 million in increased earnings over their working lives. This translates to a return of $5.00 in higher future earnings for every dollar students invest in their education. Students’ average annual rate of return is 24.3%.

Taxpayer Perspective

  • CSU generates more tax revenue than it takes. Taxpayers provided CSU with $40.2 million of funding in FY 2018-19. In return, they benefited from added tax revenue, stemming from students’ higher lifetime earnings and increased business output, amounting to $103.5 million. A reduced demand for government-funded services in Illinois adds another $15.8 million in benefits to taxpayers.
  • For every dollar of public money invested in CSU, taxpayers receive $3.00 in return, over the course of students’ working lives. The average annual rate of return for taxpayers is 11.9%.

Social Perspective

  • For every dollar invested in CSU in FY 2018-19, people in Illinois will receive $7.10 in return, for as long as CSU’s FY 2018-19 students remain active in the state workforce. 

The results of this study demonstrate that CSU created value from multiple perspectives. 

  • Business: The university benefits state businesses by increasing consumer spending in the state and supplying a steady flow of qualified, trained workers to the workforce. 
  • Students: CSU enriches the lives of students by raising their lifetime earnings and helping them achieve their individual potential. 
  • Taxpayers: The university benefits state and local taxpayers through increased tax receipts and a reduced demand for government-supported social services. 
  • Statewide: CSU benefits society as a whole in Illinois by creating a more prosperous economy and generating a variety of savings through the improved lifestyles of students.

Thoughts From Our Business and Public Leaders






Document Description
PDF Icon Fact Sheet Regarding economic value of CSU
PDF Icon Executive Summary CSU's economic impact on the State of Illinois