Janesville68.8°

UW-Rock to study impact on community

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
December 14, 2007
— Even a little UW campus like the one in Janesville takes in millions in tax dollars. But what does it give back?

The educations of hundreds of students each year enrich the community, of course. So do the frequent offerings in the arts.


But what about the economics?


UW-Rock has employees who live and spend money in the community. The two-year campus also buys supplies and services from local vendors.


And people who visit UW-Rock also spend money here.


Put that all together, and what does UW-Rock mean for the local economy?


To answer that question is no simple matter. It requires a sophisticated economics study.


The UW-Rock County Foundation has commissioned such a study, the nonprofit group announced Thursday.


The foundation’s $895 grant will help UW-Rock economics professor George Jones collect and analyze data and write a report.


“Today, universities and colleges across the nation are widely perceived as important economic drivers just like any other major business,” Jones wrote in his grant proposal. “They contribute to the local job base, and the local expenditures they make go to support businesses in the local economy.”


The largest single item in Jones’ expenses is $450 to buy what he describes as “a highly respected economic-impact modeling system used by countless private consulting research firms, state- and county-level economic development agencies and university institutional research centers.”


The software-based modeling system is called IMPLAN, or Impact Analysis for Planning.


The study will examine how the money flows during the current school year. It will include a survey of students, staff and visitors to the campus. Jones also will get data on how UW-Rock spends its money.


Jones will receive no salary from the grant, but he did include $120 to pay students to help with data analysis.


Jones previously has studied economic impacts in southern Illinois, where he completed his doctorate, and of the Janesville General Motors plant, according to his grant proposal.


The study may be a first. Jones could find no other examples in the 40 years of UW-Rock’s existence.


The UW-Rock Foundation, which is a separate entity from the college, is looking forward to using Jones’ work to further its own mission of promoting and raising money for the campus.



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