Sonoma State Library

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The impact of Sonoma State University upon the North Bay Region can only partly be told in dollars and cents. There are also the “faces” — the people who give their time and talents to others.

How do you place a value on a university? A college education changes lives. A college education can mean a better job, a higher income and a more stable economic future. In fact, a person with a bachelor’s degree can earn nearly $1 million more than a high school graduate during his or her working life. A college education opens up infinite possibilities that can transform a person’s life.

But what is the value of a university itself?

In the past year, the California State University set out to answer this question. Clearly, the CSU is about changing lives. But after conducting an extensive economic and social impact study, it is apparent that the CSU is also changing the state of California.

The California State University enrolls nearly 400,000 students and awards more than 82,000 degrees each year. It provides the bulk of the state’s workforce in the competitive industries that keep California strong and will help the state’s economy thrive in the future.

The economic and social impact of the CSU is enormous. In fiscal year 2002-03, the state’s general fund support and the average annual capital spending of the CSU was $3.09 billion. However, the full amount of direct CSU-related expenditures totaled $7.46 billion. And, by calculating the “ripple effect” of the CSU expenditures throughout the state economy, the total impact is estimated at more than $13 billion.

Consider these points on how the CSU is “working for California.”

• For every $1 the state invests in the California State University, the CSU returns $4.41. That is a four-fold return.

• The CSU sustains more than 200,000 jobs in California.

• The CSU provides the majority of the skilled professional labor force that is critical for the state’s knowledge-based industries – such as engineering, business, technology, media, computer science, education, nursing and agriculture.

• The CSU is the source of 51 percent of all bachelor’s degrees awarded, and more than 40 percent of all master’s degrees awarded in California.

• The CSU believes in improving local communities. CSU students contribute 33 million hours a year to community service activities, ranging from preschool reading programs to public art preservation to health education.



The CSU study indicates that Sonoma State University has a high magnitude impact on the North Bay Region. Here are some highlights:
• The annual expenditures of SSU, its employees and students in the North Bay are $216 million. Given the “ripple effect” of this spending, the total impact of SSU on the local economy exceeds $383 million.

• Almost $12 million is spent locally each year by SSU students.

• This impact sustains more than 5,300 jobs in the region, and generates nearly $20 million per year in tax revenues.

• For every $1 of state investment in SSU, the University returns $4.97 to the regional economy. This is almost a five-fold return on the public’s investment.

• SSU students perform more than 120,000 hours of community service. The numbers are impressive, but the impact is much broader and deeper when one imagines the numerous personal ways the University’s students, employees and alumni affect their communities and the region as a whole.