LSU-E Boosts St. Landry Economy as well as Education

Brandy Ledet Education

In addition to providing for the futures of St. Landry Parish students, LSU-Eunice is helping to provide for their present well-being through a substantial contribution to the economies of the parish and region.

A new study by Stephen Barnes and Dek Terrell of the Economics & Policy Research Group at the E.J. Courso College of Business on the Baton Rouge campus, finds that LSU-E supports at least $47.2 million in sales, $17.1 million in earnings, and 515 jobs each year.

The study found that the entire LSU system supports nearly $3.9 billion in Louisiana sales, $1.5 billion in earnings statewide, and an estimated 36,757 jobs. It found that for every dollar provided to it by the state, the LSU system provides a return of more than $5 in economic activity.

This is the first study to measure the impact of all eight LSU campuses — which, in addition to the main campus in Baton Rouge, includes the LSU AgCenter, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, medical schools in Shreveport and New Orleans, and junior college campuses in Eunice, Alexandria, and Shreveport. The study does not include the impact of LSU athletics.

Neither does it measure “a number of factors that would ostensibly increase [a campus’s] impact, including the role of … graduates and faculty as job creators, [its] the role … in bringing in outside talents and business, and the collective lifetime earnings of … graduates,” the researchers say.

“We will continue to develop … innovative pathways that lead to student … success in their chosen careers.” LSUE Chancellor, Dr. Kimberly Russell
The LSU-E campus directly provides about 190 fulltime jobs and another 200 part-time positions, and indirectly supports hundreds of other workers who supply goods or services to the school and its students.  The LSU-E campus and other regional colleges have additional impact because they often base much of their curriculum on local needs and opportunities, Barnes and Terrell say.

These campuses “provide a high-quality education to meet the needs of local businesses,” the study found. Additionally, “There is a wide array of benefits … to each of the communities … [as a] leading contributor to the local workforce through educating future business and community leaders.” That skilled workforce “creates an incentive for businesses to relocate to the areas,” the study says.

And that impact is growing: LSU-E showed one of the highest percentage increases in enrollment of any state university for the fall 2017 semester at close to a 22 percent overall increase. Early indications are that there may be up to another 5 percent increase for the spring.

The Eunice campus has been recognized as a national leader in the number of students who go on to get degrees from four-year colleges and for providing one of the nation’s exemplary career counseling programs. The school has also established programs in several disciplines that allow students to apply course credits on the Eunice campus to nearby four-year colleges.

Nearly half of all students who begin at LSU-E transfer to a four-year school to complete a baccalaureate degree, according to Chancellor Kimberly Russell. “We will continue to develop … innovative pathways that lead to student … success in their chosen careers,” she said.

The LSU-E campus is also “a beacon for artistic and cultural activities that promote a better quality of life and also serves its community by promoting educational opportunities for children,” the study finds.

St. Landry economic development leaders have long recognized LSU-E’s value and have actively supported the college’s growth and development. One of the highest priorities of St. Landry Economic Development “is to provide the best education possible at every level in St. Landry Parish,” according to executive director Bill Rodier.

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Louisiana State University Eunice is committed to the principle that individuals should have the opportunity to develop themselves through education commensurate with their capabilities and interests.