Oklahoma's higher education system generates economic returns that equal nearly five times the amount of funding it receives, according to a new report from the State Chamber of Oklahoma.
According to the report, the state sees $4.72 in return for every dollar of state funding that public higher education receives.
Conducted for the State Chamber by the research firm Battelle Technology Partnership Practice, the study shows public higher education “brings highly substantial benefits for Oklahoma.” The business lobbying group released the study Wednesday.
According to the report, the total economic output of the higher education system during the 2011 fiscal year was $9.22 billion. That figure includes the creation of about 85,000 jobs.
Those jobs include positions at the colleges and universities themselves, and jobs that exist indirectly because of higher education, such as staff at student apartment developments, said Martin Grueber, a consultant with Battelle.
Oklahoma's performance in the study is fairly strong compared with similar reports the firm has prepared in other states, Grueber said.
The state also sees benefits from the higher education system that can't be defined in strictly economic terms, Grueber said — “those things that are less easy to grab hold of on any single day.”
The study notes that those who pursue higher education often see increased job satisfaction and greater personal health and longevity.