SCC touts economic impact

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By Jesse Osbourne

St. Catharine College President William Huston said when he arrived on campus in 1997, payroll for the 36 full time employees was $23,000 every two weeks.

Now, 15 years later, payroll is nearly $300,000 every two weeks to compensate the roughly 150 full time and 50 part-time employees.
Huston also said the net assets of the college, or the worth of the college, was $85,000 in 1997.
“They had no buildings and no land,” he said. “What you saw was Lourdes Hall, and that had been depreciated out.”
Today, the college is valued at $42 million to $44 million, excluding the value of the library under construction, he said.
Dr. Thomas Lambert, an assistant professor of public administration at Northern Kentucky University, discussed a study of St. Catharine College’s economic impact on surrounding counties and the Louisville Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) on Friday at Pettus Auditorium at the college.
Lambert said a multiplier effect was used to calculate the estimated impact on those areas.
“In most economic textbooks, the multiplier is illustrated by showing that for every dollar spent by an individual or institution on certain goods and services, the vendors of those goods and services in turn spend their sales revenue purchasing labor, supplies, raw materials, etc.,” Lambert wrote in the study. “Next, these laborers and suppliers spend their wages and earnings on more goods and services.”
Lambert said the cycle of spending would continue for many rounds.
One of the first items the study looks at is cumulative operating budget for St. Catharine College from 2005 to 2011, which was $69.3 million.
Lambert estimated the multiplier impact of that budget for Marion, Nelson and Washington counties. Washington County, the county in which the college is located, saw an estimated impact of $35 million. Nelson County saw an estimated impact of $32.5 million, while Marion County’s estimated impact was $11 million.
The cumulative payroll at the college from 2005 through 2011 was $27.9 million, with an estimated impact of $14.1 million in Washington County, $13.1 million in Nelson County and $4.4 million in Marion County.
The average employment at the college from 2005 through 2011 was 125, which includes both full and part-time jobs.
Lambert’s study also points out that “most banks only need to keep a small portion of their deposits on reserve (approximately 10 to 20 percent),” therefore accounts that the college keeps at local banks helped make more credit available in the area.
“This money is loaned out to businesses and individuals, who would in turn spend loan proceeds through the different regions studied,” Lambert wrote. “Without the presence of St. Catharine College, these funds would not be available for tri-county and Louisville MSA residents to buy homes, autos, etc.”
The average monthly bank deposits by the college from 2005 through 2011 was $890,000.
Lambert estimates in the study, using a multiplier of five, that the average monthly increase in money supply and loans due to St. Catharine College deposits from 2005 through 2011 was $4.6 million.
He also discusses student spending, tax payments and federal student aid.
The estimated total cumulative spending by students during the time period was $2.9 million. The estimate was calculated using a $10 per day, 200 days per student average.
The multiplier impact of that money was $320,000 in Marion County, $2 million in Nelson County and $1 million in Washington County.
From 2005 through 2011, the college spent $2.7 million on federal taxes, $1.2 million on state taxes, $200,000 on local taxes and an estimated $700,000 on sales taxes paid by employees.
Lambert’s study also looks at financial aid dollars that come to the area through the college.
An estimated $7.7 million came through in Pell grants, and an estimated $20.3 million came via federal student loans.
He estimates that those dollars had a multiplier effect of $3.4 million in Marion County, $20.4 million in Nelson County and $10.2 million in Washington County.
The study also looked at the ‘human capital impact’ by examining the earnings of the college’s graduates.
“Now that SCC has had several years of graduates with BA degrees, as well as high-in-demand health care associate degrees, the impact of its graduates over the last few years should now be greater than what they would have been had the college only continued to grant the (associate) degrees it offered in the past,” Lambert wrote.
Lambert estimated a $174 million impact through the baccalaureate degree graduates from 2006 through 2011, a $497 million impact from graduates of three-year programs from 2004 through 2011 and an $805 million impact from associate degree graduates from 1970 through 2011, for a grand total of $1.48 billion.
“St. Catharine College graduates earn substantially more than their high school counterparts, and thanks to their hard work, they inject millions of dollars in local economies,” Lambert wrote.
He estimated that Marion County had a $162 million share in those totals, Washington County had a $177 million share and Nelson County had a $399 million share.
“Perhaps more difficult to quantify is the extra quality of life benefits that St. Catharine College brings to the north-central part of Kentucky,” Lambert wrote. “Graduates receive a liberal arts education that addresses issues such as diversity, religion and ethics, which enables them to become leaders in their communities and professions.”
Huston emphasized the growth of the college over the last four years, which were four of the worst economic years of a recession.
Over the last four years, he said, the college has built three major buildings and spent $850,000 on energy conservation, as well as spending $1 million in infrastructure around campus.
“We’ve had double-digit growth in most of those years,” he said. “The projections look even better for August.”
The college is bringing people in from outside of the community, he said.
“I see people moving in from other parts of the country and beyond the country,” he said. “It’s just creating a different campus than what we’ve had before.”
Partnerships with local school districts
Roger Marcum, executive vice-president at St. Catharine College, discussed partnerships the college had with local school districts.
“The greatest enrollment increase we saw at St. Catharine College was in dual credit,” he said. “That’s partnerships we have with Nelson County, that we have with Marion County, Bethlehem, Bardstown and certainly Washington County.”
He also mentioned Commander College, where students can earn an associate’s degree in liberal arts before they leave high school.
Marcum said the Commander College initiative is only one of six of its kind in the state.
“We feel like now, rather than complain about the quality of students we receive and say, ‘They’re not ready, why aren’t they ready,’ we’re trying to be a partner in that to see that they are ready,” Marcum said.