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New study shows that Tarleton State University generated $1.2 billion for North Central Texas.

TSU Media Relations

Tarleton State University is turbocharging economic growth, generating an estimated $1.2 billion for North Central Texas and $2 billion total for the state.

An independent study by the global research firm Lightcast (formerly Emsi) confirms that Tarleton’s impact extends far beyond its main campus in Stephenville and the counties it serves.

Released today, the report draws from university financial figures and from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Census Bureau for fiscal year 2020-21.

"Preparing students for today’s market and tomorrow’s careers boosts the economy and loads the workforce pipeline,” said Tarleton President James Hurley. “Education is inseparable from economic growth. If we educate students in Texas, they will stay in Texas, and Texas will continue to prosper.”

(Click here to watch a video about the study by Dr. Hurley.)

As a result of their education, Tarleton Texans receive higher earnings and increase the productivity of the businesses that employ them. Alumni generated $1.7 billion in added income for the state economy in FY 2020-21, equivalent to supporting almost 24,000 jobs.

“Tarleton is one of the fastest growing educational institutions in the country and a first-choice destination for some of the brightest minds in Texas,” Dr. Hurley said. “Students don’t just come to Tarleton, they take Tarleton with them. And most, about 97 percent, live and work in the Lone Star State.”

Tarleton bachelor’s degree graduates on average earn an undiscounted $1.2 million more than high school graduates ($30,800 annually per graduate) over their working lives in Texas. The lifetime benefits of the Tarleton master’s degree over a high school diploma are $1.9 million for graduates while they’re in the workforce, and $668,000 more than they would make with a bachelor’s degree.

Put simply, Tarleton graduates receive $7 in higher future earnings for every dollar they allocate to their education — an average 23.2% annual return on their investment. That’s more than double the U.S. stock market’s 30-year average of 10.5%.

In return, taxpayers benefit from $221.6 Million in added tax revenue stemming from students’ higher lifetime earnings and increased business output. A reduced demand for government-funded services in Texas adds another $34.4 Million in benefits.

For every dollar of public money invested in Tarleton in FY 2020-21, taxpayers receive $4.10, or 9.4%, in return over the course of students’ working lives.

“Without question, there’s great value in a Tarleton degree,” Dr. Hurley said.

Of the $2 billion impact to the state, Tarleton startup companies (created to license and commercialize university technology or knowledge) accounted for almost $105 million in added income for FY 2020-21. Research activities added $20 million and construction spending another $6.4 million.

Current and future projects such as the $66 million Interprofessional Education Building in Fort Worth and, in Stephenville, a multilevel parking garage and additional seating at Memorial Stadium are not part of today’s report.

Nor does it include work on the Athletics Administration and Academic Success Center, enhanced baseball and softball facilities, permanent home for track and field, Convention and Events Center, Aquatics Center, Health Sciences Building and Research Administration Building.

At the close of 2021 Tarleton earned the elevated designation of Doctoral Universities: High Research Activity by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, putting the university among only 4% of schools across the country so recognized.

And this fall the school was invited to join the distinguished Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, underscoring its place among the top schools in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

"Strength in research, scholarship and entrepreneurship makes Tarleton a powerful engine of opportunity and a great investment for our students,” Dr. Hurley said.

To this end, new physical therapy, occupational therapy and physician assistant programs are coming to address the state’s growing need for healthcare providers.

“For 123 years we have remained true to John Tarleton’s vision of providing a high-quality education for all students while benefiting the communities we serve. Today’s report proves our success, and we’re not stopping now. The throttle is wide open.”


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