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Economy & Business

Report: Colleges and Universities in Pittsburgh a Major Economic Driver

The 10 colleges and universities that make up the Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education (PCHE) represented approximately 32 percent of the city’s gross domestic product in FY 2012-13, according to a report released by PCHE.

“We have contributed close to $9 billion into the regional economy and we’re supporting more than 70,000 jobs in the City of Pittsburgh, which is one out of every four jobs,” said Paul Hennigan, PCHE chair and president of Point Park University.

This, said Hennigan, puts concrete figures to larger conversations about how “eds and meds” are supporting the economy.

“This is a document that we put together just to show the community that we do, indeed, provide the economic stimulus and economic activity that so many people have been talking about for a while,” he said.

That economic impact comes from the number of people employed by colleges and universities, construction projects, research, in-kind contributions and the students.

“We’re drawing in a lot of financial aid dollars, federal financial aid dollars, we’re bringing in a lot of student spending and a lot of visitor spending as well,” said Hennigan.

The economic impact has increased since the last report was issued four years ago, and Hennigan said it looks like it’s a trend that will stick.

“It has steadily increased over the years,” he said. “It’s one of the sectors of the regional economy that didn’t see a demise in the most recent recessions and it continues to remain strong and we believe that the outlook is just as strong.”

The report also states that higher education institutions support city jobs outside of the colleges and universities themselves and contribute to area communities projects and charities. It also shows that in FY 2012-13, PCHE colleges and universities paid more than $26 million in total taxes to the City of Pittsburgh. In addition, PCHE members paid more than $4.1 million in City Parking Tax and nearly $1.5 million in Service Tax.

In 2012, the total taxes collected by the City of Pittsburgh equaled $362 million. Seven percent of this total, more than $26 million, was paid by PCHE members.

PCHE members are Carnegie Mellon University, Duquesne University, Community College of Allegheny County, Carlow University, Chatham, La Roche College, Point Park University, Robert Morris University, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and the University of Pittsburgh. The full report can be found online.