Posted by Philip Poole on 2007-12-12

Samford University has significant economic impact on the region and state, based on a recent study by the university's office of institutional effectiveness.

For fiscal year 2006, the most recent complete statistics available, Samford's economic impact on the state of Alabama was about $300 million, with an impact on the metropolitan Birmingham area of about $271 million.

With an enrollment of about 4,500 students, Samford compares favorably to the largest universities in the state based on its size and mission. Samford's economic impact per student was $60,776. By comparison, the University of Alabama's economic impact per student was $60,512.

The University of Alabama's statewide economic impact was about $1.45 billion, while the University of Alabama at Birmingham's impact was more than $3.2 billion. UAB's information includes the medical school and hospital complex. Sarah C. Latham, Samford's assistant to the president and director of institutional effectiveness, also noted that Auburn University is currently updating its economic impact study.

"Colleges and universities commonly are viewed as major contributors to the intellectual and societal good of their communities," Latham said. "These institutions also have a vital economic impact on cities, counties and states."

Samford used resources from the Bureau for Labor Statistics, the National Center for Education Statistics and other impact studies, including an economic impact study performed by the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Alabama.

During the same period, Samford hosted more than 125,000 visitors on campus, with a projected economic impact of more than $1 million. Visitors attended athletics events, arts performances, workshops, prospective and new student events, and other activities on campus.

Samford's has 1,395 employees, with an economic impact of $121.5 million in the metropolitan Birmingham area and $129.6 million statewide.

During the same period, Latham noted that for every $1 invested in Samford by the state, Alabama received about $2,580 in economic impact from the university.

"Although we are a privately-funded university, this study demonstrates our positive impact on the community," Latham added. "This is especially important since many of our students and campus visitors come from outside the region and the state. These are not dollars that are being diverted from other communities in Alabama."

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.