Report: Rowan's local economic impact is booming

Report: Rowan's local economic impact is booming

Share
Private study determines Rowan's far-reaching economic impact is especially strong in its host communities of Glassboro, Camden and Stratford and more than $1 billion statewide.

A recently released report from a private research firm has detailed Rowan University’s far- reaching economic impact on its host communities, and it’s huge – more than $108 million per year in Glassboro alone.

In Rowan’s host communities of Glassboro, Camden and Stratford, Rowan is stimulating vast private investment, creating jobs, boosting real estate markets and offering a wide range of services to the public including medical care, education and arts & entertainment.

In Glassboro, home to the growing university’s main campus, Rowan has an annual economic impact of more than $108 million annually, supports more than 1,000 jobs outside the university and is a critical partner in the $300 million Rowan Boulevard project, a public-private initiative that is transforming a one-time downward turning neighborhood.

“The report is consistent with our approach to growing the University by having it serve as an economic engine, increasing access, and offering affordable, quality programs,” said Rowan University President Dr. Ali Houshmand. “I am proud that the University has had such an economic influence on our host communities, our region and the State of New Jersey.”

In addition to direct economic impact, Rowan students, faculty and staff volunteer an estimated 25,000 hours per year – from free medical services at the University’s two medical schools to work in food pantries, shelters and throughout the community. The market value of Rowan volunteer service in Glassboro and Camden alone is estimated to be $175,000 per year.

 

Driving construction trades

From Glassboro to Camden to Stratford, Rowan is in the midst of roughly $300 million in active design and construction projects, all of which create good paying, skilled jobs whose ripple effect supports the local economy and reaches far beyond.

In Glassboro, where most of Rowan’s major construction is now centered, work is underway on a $70 million second building for the Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering, a new $63 million home for the Rohrer College of Business, and a $129 million, 1,400-bed residence hall. Those projects alone are creating nearly 2,600 construction jobs.

Concurrently, Rowan is investing directly off campus with a new building for the College of Communication & Creative Arts (CCCA) at 301 W. High Street in Glassboro and has leased space for the CCCA Dean’s office and Journalism faculty in a restored former bank building at 6 E. High Street, moves designed to further integrate Rowan with Glassboro and attract private investment to the historic downtown.

Rowan is also investing heavily in its Camden campus, where a multi-million expansion is underway.

The report by Econsult Solutions, Inc. (ESI) of Philadelphia, Rowan University’s Impact on its Host Communities, notes that the institution, through its popular RowanCard debit card program, supports participating Glassboro businesses with more than $4 million per year and that over the last five years Rowan spent $45 million with Glassboro and Camden vendors.

“Rowan’s effect on its host communities is profound and immediate,” said Lee Huang, senior vice president and principal of ESI. “Equally important, today’s construction projects will have a catalyzing effect as investment is drawn to investment, more students are drawn to Rowan, and the pattern repeats itself.”

Rowan, which today has 15,500 students, is projected to have 25,000 students by 2023 at its three campuses and online.

 

Stronger communities

ESI found that Rowan’s presence in its host communities is building critical mass, driving real estate markets and supporting residents with a wide variety of programs and resources in education, health care, entertainment and recreation.

Rowan directly supports the real estate market in each of its host communities by encouraging faculty and staff to buy homes and live in them there. It offers a ten-year, $1,500 per year housing incentive for employees who buy homes in Glassboro, Camden or Stratford.

The program has helped stabilize and boost property values near the University while a program of economic development grants to the municipalities has helped offset the need for tax increases and the cost of public safety.

“The ESI report shows how our redevelopment planning is on track and our partnership with Rowan is especially strong,” said Glassboro Mayor Leo McCabe. “I’ve said it before but it’s never been more true – as the University goes, so does the Borough of Glassboro.”

 

An even stronger state

The local economic impact study is a companion piece to a statewide evaluation that ESI released in February determining Rowan’s impact throughout New Jersey to be $1.23 billion annually. That report found that Rowan supports 9,200 jobs statewide and generates $19 million in state taxes per year.

Rowan last conducted an economic impact study in 2004 when enrollment, at 9,688, was less than 2/3 what it is today, and its local economic impact, then about $17 million per year in Glassboro, was less than 1/6 what it is today.

Houshmand said Rowan conducts periodic studies about its economic impact to quantify how public investment in it gets returned to the community. Rowan’s annual operating budget of $440 million creates a statewide economic impact of nearly three times that amount.

“I fully expect that the findings in this report will, in turn, spur even greater investment in our host communities,” Houshmand said.

Though major capital projects are greatest in Glassboro this year, Rowan is investing heavily to develop resources in Camden and Stratford. The University in 2012 created Cooper Medical School of Rowan University in Camden (and has since built a $140 million facility) and has operated its Camden campus since 1969.

In 2013 Rowan became New Jersey’s second comprehensive public research university and, the same year, acquired the School of Osteopathic Medicine in Stratford to become just the second university in the nation to offer both osteopathic and allopathic medical degree programs.