Tech’s impact reaches throughout the state, study reveals
Louisiana Tech released the results from its economic and community impact survey, conducted by an independent source, and determined that the rate of return for every state dollar spent at the university is $7.73 state-wide.
The study, which started in October 2008, was conducted by the Applied Research Technology Corporation at Baton Rouge to determine Tech’s impact locally and statewide.
Tech President Dan Reneau said he was encouraged by the results, which showed that Tech had a great impact regionally and throughout the state. According to the study, annual university spending accounts for $462.5 million spent in Louisiana and employs 4,745 individuals throughout the state with full-time non-university related jobs.
The study focused on how Tech impacts the area through athletics, entrepreneurship, culture and academics.
“We often overlook the quality of life,” Reneau said, noting the Louisiana Tech Concert Association, the IDEA Place and the School of Art as areas of cultural interest to the community.
“We often look at athletics as an add-on,” he added. “It’s a window where people can see us from, and it’s an excitement for people. Athletics at the university is as American as apple pie. We will have three ESPN-televised games this year. Two of them will be played here, and this is the second year in a row we’ve had the highest student-athlete graduation rate in Louisiana.”
Though impending budget cuts do loom in Tech’s future, Reneau added that the entrepreneurship and academic sections of the campus would play large roles in attracting students.
“There’s a tremendous spirit of entrepreneurship on this campus,” Reneau said. “I can assure you that the fact that Louisiana Tech is the only SREB Doctoral II research university in 200 miles in north Louisiana will play an important part. We are also nationally recognized and have some world-class research centers, such as the biomedical engineering center and the Trenchless Technology Center.”
Rep. Hollis Downs, R-Ruston, added that the information in the survey could help in the Legislature.
“It gives us something to quantify,” he said. “We’ll use it to further our debates and arguments in what is an incredibly difficult situation. The general view is that what’s on the table today is totally unacceptable. Something has to change.”
Ruston Mayor Dan Hollingsworth said that the university was a boon to Ruston for more than monetary reasons.
“I think we’ve all realized the value of the university in so many ways – economically, culturally and others,” Hollingsworth said. “To quantify that shows how much of an impact that is, and if you look at the influence of the university as what it adds to the region, the impact is even more.”
Dr. Les Guice, vice president for research and development, said that while the study revealed the results of the spending data, Tech has a national impact as well as state-wide.
“We’re getting start-up companies in trenchless technology that are beginning to grow,” Guice said. “In areas of nanotechnology, we are working with Louisiana companies to improve their technology, like the paper companies, to improve their products.”
For more information about the impact study results, visit http://www.latech.edu/impactstudy.
Written by Judith Roberts