St. Clair's Impact Is Updated In Report

Econ impact

So, just how important is St. Clair College to southwestern Ontario? 

That is the question that the school has been seeking to answer for the past couple of years. 

In a report presented to the school's Board of Governors during its November 23rd meeting, the 2020-21 economic impact of St. Clair upon its base-communities of Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent was gauged. 

The college engaged EMSI (an economic modelling and analysis firm dealing with postsecondary education) in 2018 to perform an economic value study. It has been annually updating that study since then. 

EMSI assesses the impact of the college on the regional economy and the benefit generated by the college for (and by) its main stakeholders: students, taxpayers, and society. 

The report to the Board by the college’s administration noted that several economic benefits were “reduced in scope” during the past year, due to the pandemic. Some of St. Clair’s operational spending was reduced because most educational services were being delivered on-line; and, likewise, many international students were studying in their homelands – so, they weren’t here, spending money in the local economy. 

Here is the "nut-shelled" fact-sheet conclusion contained in EMSI's 2020-21 report: 

St. Clair College creates value in many ways. The college plays a key role in helping students increase their employability and achieve their individual potential. It draws students to the region, generating new dollars and opportunities for Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent. It provides students with the education, training, and skills they need to have fulfilling and prosperous careers. Furthermore, it is a place for students to meet new people, increase their self-confidence, and promote their overall health and well-being. 

St. Clair influences both the lives of its students and the regional economy. The college supports a variety of industries in Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent, serves regional businesses, and benefits the provincial government through increased tax revenues and public sector savings. The benefits created by the college even extend to society as a whole in Ontario, which benefits from an expanded economy and improved quality of life. 

This study measures the economic impacts created by St. Clair on the business community and the benefits the college generates in return for the investments made by its key stakeholder groups — students, taxpayers, and society. 

All results reflect employee, student, and financial data, provided by the college, for fiscal year (FY) 2020-21. Impacts on the Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent economy are reported under the economic impact analysis, and are measured in terms of added income. 

St. Clair promotes economic growth in Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent through its direct expenditures and the resulting expenditures of students and regional businesses. The college serves as an employer and buyer of goods and services for its day-to-day operations and construction. The college’s activities attract students from outside Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent, whose expenditures benefit regional vendors. In addition, the college is a primary source of postsecondary education to Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent residents, and a supplier of trained workers to regional industries, enhancing overall productivity in the regional workforce. 

OPERATIONS SPENDING IMPACT  

St. Clair adds economic value to Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent as an employer of regional residents and a large-scale buyer of goods and services. In FY 2020-21, the college employed faculty and staff equivalent to 735 full-time employees, all of whom lived in Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent. Total payroll at SCC was $85.5 million, much of which was spent in the region for groceries, mortgage and rent payments, dining out, and other household expenses. In addition, the college spent $102.7 million on day-to-day expenses related to facilities, supplies, and professional services.  

St. Clair’s day-to-day operations spending added $123 million in income to the region during the analysis year. This figure represents the college’s payroll, the multiplier effects generated by the in-region spending of the college and its employees, and a downward adjustment to account for funding that the college received from regional sources. The $123 million in added income is equivalent to supporting 1,276 jobs in the region. 

CONSTRUCTION SPENDING IMPACT 

St. Clair spends millions on construction each year to maintain its facilities, create additional capacities, and meet its growing educational  

demands. While the amount varies from year to year, this spending generates a short-term infusion of spending and jobs in the regional economy. The quick infusion of income and jobs that occurred in the regional economy as a result of this construction spending is considered short-term due to the one-time nature of such projects. Nonetheless, the college’s construction spending had a substantial impact on the regional economy in FY 2020-21, equal to $7.4 million in added income and equivalent to supporting 59 jobs. 

STUDENT SPENDING IMPACT 

Around 44 percent of credit students attending St. Clair originated from outside the region in FY 2020-21, and some of these students relocated to Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent to attend St. Clair. These students may not have come to the region if the college did not exist. In addition, some in-region students, referred to as “retained students”, would have left Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent if not for the existence of St. Clair. While attending the college, these relocated and retained students spent money on groceries, accommodation, transportation, and other household expenses. This spending generated $8.2 million in added income for the regional economy in FY 2020-21, which supported 184 jobs in Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent. 

ALUMNI IMPACT 

The education and training St. Clair provides for regional residents has the greatest impact. Since its establishment, students have studied at St. Clair and entered the regional workforce with greater knowledge and new skills. Today, thousands of former St. Clair students are employed in Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent. As a result of their college educations, the students receive higher earnings and increase the productivity of the businesses that employ them. In FY 2020-21, St. Clair alumni generated $653.2 million in added income for the regional economy, which is equivalent to supporting 7,340 jobs. 

TOTAL IMPACT  

St. Clair added $791.7 million in income to the Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent economy during the analysis year, equal to the sum of the operations and construction spending impacts, the student spending impact, and the alumni impact. For context, the $791.7 million impact was equal to approximately 2.7 percent of the total gross regional product of Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent. This contribution that the college provided on its own is as large as the entire Finance and Insurance industry in the region. 

St. Clair’s total impact can also be expressed in terms of jobs supported. The $791.7 million impact supported 8,859 regional jobs. This means that one out of every 33 jobs in Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent is supported by the activities of St. Clair and its students. 

IMPACT OF INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS 

International students are an important part of the St. Clair community. In FY 2020-21, it served 4,798 international students, many of whom relocated to Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent. These students brought new money to the regional economy through their spending on housing, food, and other living expenses. International student spending in FY 2020-21 generated $4 million in added income for the regional economy. 

It is estimated that 50 percent of international students remain in the region after finishing their time at St. Clair. Today, thousands of these students are employed in Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent, receiving higher earnings and increasing the productivity of the businesses that employ them. In FY 2020-21, these active alumni generated $214.2 million in added income for the economy. 

Another section of the report – Investment Analysis – concluded that: 

• Over time, students benefit much more from their college experience than it costs them, because the expenses they bear while enrolled are more than offset by the future wages they will earn with their diplomas in-hand; and 

• The province as a whole also “turns a profit” thanks to St. Clair’s existence. The economic impact generated by the college (as described above) far exceeds grant funding that is provided to the college by provincial taxpayers.

LINKS TO MORE STORIES FROM THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS’ MEETING

• President Patti France’s monthly report: https://news.stclair-src.org/need-know-news/board-hears-about-presidents-busy-month

• A new program to be unveiled next fall: https://news.stclair-src.org/need-know-news/board-approves-new-program-launch-next-fall

• 2021-22 budget’s bottom-line is revised: https://news.stclair-src.org/need-know-news/college-revises-its-budget-projections-mid-year

• Programs with some iffy enrolment being monitored: https://news.stclair-src.org/need-know-news/enrolment-dips-discussed-board

• New credit-transfer opportunities: https://news.stclair-src.org/need-know-news/new-additions-go-there-here-list

• Bolstered effort to retain enrolment: https://news.stclair-src.org/need-know-news/keeping-existing-students-important-getting-new-ones

• Sister school could deliver St. Clair programs in B.C.: https://news.stclair-src.org/need-know-news/scc-may-get-bc-thanks-aaa