OGDEN -- Most would agree a university in a community is a boon to business.
Weber State's full financial impact can't be calculated. But on the 125th anniversary of WSU's founding, as Weber Stake Academy, here are some numbers to consider.
Weber State University last year paid its employees $93.5 million, plus $33.5 million in insurances and other benefits, said Provost Michael Vaughan.
"Universities also buy lots of stuff, such as paper, printers and computers," Vaughan said. "For the most recent year, Weber State spent $46.4 million." It also spent $36.9 million on construction.
"When you total that up, the money the university put into the community last year was $210,300,000," Vaughan said. "People talk about direct and indirect benefits. When a Weber State employee buys a car, it's a multiplier effect. If you apply a typical economic multiplier, one of the more conservative ones, you get a total economic impact of $370,128,000 annually.
"That's going to be less than Hill Air Force Base or the IHC, but But Weber State's number is also not trivial," Vaughn said.
Weber State provides free or low cost training to local business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.
"There are probably three or four groups at Weber I work with, offering a wide variety of training and services," said Alex Lawrence, Vice Provost. "There is the Small Business Development Center, now in downtown Ogden in our new building."
Employees offer free workshops and business classes for a fee. WSU offers a $350 course that helps local businesses design their own apps. The university hosts events, allowing small business owners to meet leaders in the banking community, or to learn about grants.
"People come and ask questions," Lawrence said. "We cover a lot of business topics on a weekly basis."
WSU also has a USTAR office, to help businesses and professors commercialize ideas. WSU has worked with local companies on prototyping, engineering and technical support, Lawrence said.
Much of the help is offered through WSU's downtown building, which also serves as a small business incubator, renting affordable space and services to entrepreneurs.
"Fifty to $99 a month gets you a seat, and the closest thing to that in Salt Lake or is $350 to $400 a month," Lawrence said. "Small business is key to the economy. Studies show the biggest contributor to job growth in the economy are business with under 50 employees. They generally hire the most, and stay long term, contributing to the local economy."
Then there's the increased earning potential of Weber State graduates.
According to WSU figures, the average starting salary of 2012-2013 bachelor's degree recipients was $44,026. For a master's degrees holder, the average salary was $51,408. An associate's degree recipients had an average starting salary of $41,745.
Numbers varied by college. For the College of Applied Science & Technology, the average annual paycheck was $53,090, according to WSU statistics. Those who studied health professions came in at $46,387 a year. School of Business graduates earned an average salary of $43,969. WSU Science degree holders earned an average of $41,594. For Social and Behavioral Science, WSU quoted an average salary of $35,703. Arts and humanities graduates earned $33,429, on average. Education graduates earned an average of $33,226.
More than 4,400 students earned 2013 degrees, awarded at either at May or December commencements.
Contact reporter Nancy Van Valkenburg at 801-625-4275 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @S_ENancyVanV.