Chicago State University Contributes $1.6 Billion Annually to the Illinois Economy

New Study Outlines the University’s Pivotal Role in Creating a Strong, Diverse Economy & Providing a Robust Return on Investment for Students and Taxpayers

CHICAGO, IL –As Illinois’ only four-year Predominantly Black Institution, Chicago State University (CSU) has a proven track record in supporting diverse students’ access and success in securing a college degree. Today, CSU releases its inaugural Economic Impact Study, conducted by economists , that demonstrates  the Institution is a driving force in the Illinois economy by adding $1.6 billion in income to the Illinois economy, supporting 17,525 jobs, and providing a strong return on investment for students and Illinois taxpayers. 

“For every dollar invested in Chicago State University, Illinois residents see a $7 return on investment; a clear signal of the depth of our contribution to the city and state,” said President Zaldwaynaka Scott, Esq. “Through academic research, community initiatives, and education, the institution is a driving force for not only educating diverse students, but also inclusive economic growth.” 

Study Findings

The study found that CSU has a significant positive impact on the business community and generates a return on investment to its major stakeholder groups—students, taxpayers, and society. Using a two- pronged approach that involves an economic impact analysis and an investment analysis, this study calculates the benefits received by each of these groups.

Results of the analysis reflect fiscal year (FY) 2018-19. Through CSU’s operations, research, student activities, and alumni employment and leadership, CSU generated more tax revenue than it received. Taxpayer’s average annual rate of return is 11.9%. 

"The economic impact report makes clear what we have long known: Chicago State University is critical to building a strong state economy,” said Governor Pritzker. “That’s why my administration was proud to support CSU with bold investments through the state’s Rebuild Illinois capital plan, which has provided nearly $30 million for campus infrastructure improvements and a state-of-the-art health sciences simulation facility. I applaud CSU leadership for their work to provide a quality education to its students and I look forward to our continued partnership to educate our next generation of leaders and innovators.” 

"CSU's inaugural economic impact study illustrates the full extent this incredible institution plays in our region's economy," said Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. "Chicago benefits tremendously from the CSU alum who are leading in their professions, and I share President Scott and the University's passionate commitment to research and engagement that results in equitable development and improved social determinants which strengthen our city and entire region." 

The study also found that an education at CSU is a smart investment for students. 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. 

“The Economic Impact Statement released by Chicago State University today tells us what we already know – the university is an essential part of the economic fabric of the surrounding community, the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois,” said James Derwinski, CEO/Executive Director of Metra. “Among the many ways the university spurs economic growth is through its focus on equity in public transit, a focus we share. We are honored to be its partner as we look to bring economic transformation to our neighborhoods and communities.” 

"Chicago State University is the unacknowledged treasure among the Illinois institutions of higher education,” said Avis LaVelle, Executive Director of Business Leadership Council. “It is time for all to recognize what a jewel CSU is and the extent to which it has contributed to the educational success of so many." 

Study Background

Data and assumptions used in the study are based on several sources, including the Fiscal Year 2018-19 academic and financial reports from CSU, industry and employment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Census Bureau, outputs of Emsi’s Multi-Regional Social Accounting Matrix model, and studies and surveys relating education to social behavior. The study applies a conservative methodology and follows standard practice using only the most recognized indicators of economic impact and investment effectiveness. Additional information on the study is available here.