Christian colleges and universities in the US collectively have a tremendous impact on the national economy, as reported by a newly-released study commissioned by the CCCU (Council For Christian Colleges & Universities). The study’s executive summary reports that CCCU’s membership base of 140+ Christian colleges and universities in the US is responsible for more than $60 billion in total economic output on an annual basis, or $166 million per day.
The study, completed by Philadelphia-based consulting firm Econsult Solutions, calculates the impact on the national economy by its 142 Christian colleges and universities across the country. The calculation of economic benefit includes the collective impact of institutional operations, capital investments, and additional alumni earning power. These 140+ faith-based institutions represent 445,000 students, 72,000 faculty/staff, and 3.5 million alumni.
Six (6) SCICU member colleges and universities are among CCCU’s membership base of 140+ private Christian colleges and universities in the US. These SCICU institutions are Anderson University, Charleston Southern University, Columbia International University, Erskine College, North Greenville University, and Southern Wesleyan University.
“The report clarifies what we at Anderson University have long believed – that not only is there a place for Christian higher education in today’s society, but that institutions like AU are an important part of the national economy and have an enormous positive impact on our culture, community and society as a whole,” said AU President Dr. Evans Whitaker.
In addition to Anderson University being a part of the CCCU membership base, Dr. Whitaker also serves on the CCCU Board of Directors.
Further emphasizing the study’s findings regarding the value of Christian higher education, Dr. Whitaker’s op-ed “Christian Universities Offer Good Return On Investment” was featured in both the Anderson Mail and The Greenville News on April 11, 2018.
At a time when higher education is under heavy scrutiny for its value proposition, the CCCU study’s findings are particularly pertinent—not only do Christian institutions profoundly affect the lives of students through their shared commitment to advancing faith and intellect for the common good, they also benefit the national economy and deliver a significant return on investment to the federal government.
“Christian colleges and universities provide a unique and valuable place for students to discern their vocation through the study of their chosen discipline,” says CCCU President Shirley V. Hoogstra. “The results from this report are powerful, and illuminate a bright future for Christian higher education.”
Key findings from the CCCU-commissioned study include:
- CCCU institutions are responsible for more than $60 billion in economic impact each year.
- For every $1 in federal grant money a student receives, CCCU institutions provide $5 in aid to that student through grants and scholarships.
- The student loan default rate for graduates from CCCU institutions (6.3%) is nearly half the national average (11.5%).
- Even though they are tax exempt, CCCU institutions still generate $9.7 billion in federal tax revenue each year. For every $1 in federal grant money a student receives, CCCU institutions generate more than $20 in federal tax revenue.
- 1 in 3 CCCU students are first-generation college students.
- 50% of CCCU students come from families that make less than $50,000 per year.
- While approximately one in four college students across the country volunteer, more than one in three CCCU students participate in community service while enrolled. CCCU students perform an estimated 5.4 million community service hours per year.
The CCCU full report “Building The Economy and The Common Good: The National Impact of Christian Higher Education in the United States” is available for review and download. Other study-related documents available for download include the executive summary and one-page infographic “What Is Christian Higher Education Worth?”.