ROCKFORD (WIFR) – Rockford’s economy took a big hit during the recession and now, as businesses begin hiring more workers and adding jobs, we’re learning just how much of a role the younger generation has on that comeback.
A new study finds Rockford University is bringing in millions of dollars to the Stateline.
Matthew Phillips walks the Rockford University campus every day and has done so for more than a decade. The alum now works at the University. Philips is one of the thousands of regents who chose to stay in the Rockford region after graduation.
“As you move around the community we find there’s quite a few in the community that have graduated from this university and are in significant positions.”
A study by economic modeling specialists international finds the university is injecting more than $118 million back in our community every year. The 5,200 alumni still living and working in the area generate about $99 million in earnings and that’s saving taxpayers a lot of money.
“They cost the community less in terms of health care, cost less in terms of crime and unemployment expenses as well,” said Rockford University President Dr. Robert Head.
The study also found the University itself is generating about $18 million through general operations and a bustling campus means a booming economy. Each year, students are spending $960,000 by eating out, shopping, and living in the Forest City.
“These are our future. These are the people we use to try to transform Rockford as we’re talking throughout our community and without the benefit of higher education, our community really does not grow as quickly or as well as it should,” said Rockford Chamber of Commerce President Einar Forsman.
The University hopes the study helps attract more students to the campus. It found a $131 million increase in earnings for RU graduates. That’s a more than 13.5% annual rate of return on their investment.