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Metropolitan State University’s annual economic impact estimated at $393.9 million

ST. PAUL, Minnesota– Minnesota State, the system of 30 state colleges and seven state universities, in November 2018 released the results of a study that estimates the contribution of Metropolitan State University to the regional economy to be $393.9 million and 3,600 jobs.

The commissioned study was conducted by Parker Philips, a nationally recognized consulting firm specializing in economic impact analysis. In the analysis, the study considered the direct spending on operations, pay, benefits, and capital projects by Metropolitan State University and the estimated increase in demand for goods and services in industry sectors that supply or support the university. The study also measured the effect of student spending and the induced effect of increased household income.

“Metropolitan State was founded to bring higher education to people, including working adults, who were not being reached by traditional institutions. It has held true to its calling and is impacting the Minnesota economy through its outside-the-box approach to programming and partnering in support of the future workforce,” says President Metropolitan State University

Virginia Arthur. “Our success in moving under-resourced students into sustainable middle-class lives has a significant cumulative impact on the state’s economy and civic vibrancy.”


Supporting and Sustaining Minnesotans
The study found that a key result of this activity is that Metropolitan State University directly employs 1,218 people and supports and sustains 3,600 jobs, with indirect and induced jobs created by supply and equipment vendors, contractors, and laborers for the construction and renovation of facilities, and jobs created in the community at hotels, restaurants, and retail stores in support of the University’s faculty, staff, students, and visitors.

The study also calculated tax revenues generated by this level of economic activity, including sales, property, personal income, and corporate income taxes. The study concluded that Metropolitan State University generates about $23 million in tax revenues for state and local government.

Statewide, all Minnesota State operations, including all seven state universities and 30 community and technical colleges, plus the spending of its faculty, staff, and students, had a total statewide economic contribution of $8 billion. This activity generated an estimated 67,717 jobs in the state.  The system’s return on the state’s legislative investment is 12:1. 


Statewide Effects
The study also estimated the value of the increase in productivity that the degrees awarded by Metropolitan State University yield throughout the careers of the graduates. In academic year 2017–2018, Metropolitan State awarded a total of 2,319 certificates and degrees (16 undergraduate certificates, 2,039 bachelor degrees, 15 graduate certificates, 182 master’s degrees, and 12 doctoral degrees). The education received by these Metropolitan State’s 33,035 alumni living and working in Minnesota will have contributed $23.0 billion during the span of their careers.


A Civic-Minded Institution

Reflecting the Metropolitan State civic-minded and community-engaged approach to equality, social mobility, and service, its alumni give back. Many have earned senior leadership positions or launched innovative nonprofits to serve minority and low-income people. Others pursue careers in the public sector, including 19 alumni who have been elected to the State Legislature, others who sit on county boards, and still others who have served as, for example, Minnesota’s Commissioner of Public Safety, as chief of the National Guard Bureau and member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as police chiefs or sheriffs, or as a long-term Secretary of the Minnesota Senate. One recent graduate, while a student, was appointed to the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking and continues to advocate for victims and survivors of human trafficking. Over 30 current police chiefs have graduated from Metropolitan State, School of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice, which serves as Minnesota’s classroom for future law enforcement leaders.

“Our experiential instruction and convenient programs are enriched by our civic-minded approach, diverse environment, community engagement, and service learning,” President Arthur says.


High-Tech Innovators

In response to a workforce shortage in the domestic cybersecurity field, Metropolitan State has launched an undergraduate minor in cybersecurity, has approved a bachelor’s degree major, and plans to open a master’s degree program. MN Cyber launched in May 2018 to provide a premier regional facility to accelerate the certification of cybersecurity experts, and to provide the training, skills, and knowledge necessary to professionals in information technology and cybersecurity career fields. The projected state-of-the-art, 24/7 Secure Operations Center facility will provide a supervised, live-practice setting for advanced students and cybersecurity professionals. Metropolitan State is extending its impact by collaboratively developing curriculum and working with community colleges throughout the state to meet market demands, while preparing new workers at a critical time.

The economic impact report for Metropolitan State University is available at

Metropolitan State University, a member of Minnesota State, is the Twin Cities’ public, urban, comprehensive state university providing lifelong learning and competitive academic and professional degree programs at the bachelor, master, and doctoral levels.