Calvin College (Grand Rapids, Michigan) is among the 142 institutions making a $60 billion economic impact annually.
(Washington, D.C.) A groundbreaking new study from Philadelphia-based consulting firm Econsult Solutions, Inc. analyzes the significant economic impact of Christian higher education in the United States. Commissioned by the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU), the study calculates the impact on the national economy of its 142 Christian colleges and universities across the country, collectively educating 445,000 students, employing 72,000 faculty and staff, and serving 3.5 million alumni around the world. (Calvin College, Cornerstone University, and Kuyper College are West Michigan-based schools included in the report.) The study finds that through the capital investments and additional alumni earning power, these 142 institutions generate more than $60 billion in economic impact each year (equivalent to $166 million generated per day for the U.S. economy).
At a time when higher education is under heavy scrutiny for its value proposition, the 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. “They also develop a deeper relationship with God, with their peers and professors, and with their surrounding communities. Our rigorous academics and educational missions shape students who act for the public good—often at a cost to themselves—out of a love for Jesus Christ and for the world around them. The results from this report are powerful and illuminate a bright future for Christian higher education.”
“This report helps us understand the role of Christian colleges and universities, not only for faith-based scholarship and personal spiritual formation but also as a major economic engine in the U.S., supporting local jobs and generating federal tax revenues,” adds Lee Huang, Senior Vice President & Principal of Econsult Solutions, Inc. “Christian higher education’s value proposition to its participants, as well as to community and society, is very strong. Our nation and our communities need more of what these institutions do, which is act as anchors of economic activity, serve and engage with their immediate neighbors, and add intelligent and service-oriented graduates to tomorrow’s workforce.”
“Our commitment to the success of our students drives us to constantly be looking for ways to enhance our programs,” said Michael Le Roy, president of Calvin College. One such example is the college’s innovative, co-curricular Calvin LifeWork program, which was rolled out in Fall 2017 and provides students with greater opportunities to prepare for post-college life.
"The results of the Econsult study prove out on a broader scale what we have been seeing at Calvin College for years—that there is greater access to private Christian higher education than ever before, that students are paying back their loans at a much higher rate than the national average, and that our grads are making significant economic and civic contributions to their communities."
Key Findings from Report:
- 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.
This report was generously sponsored by America’s Christian Credit Union with support from Fieldstead and Company.
For additional information and to access the full report, visit cccu.org/economic-impact/.
The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities is a higher education association of more than 180 Christian institutions around the world. With campuses across the globe, including more than 150 in the U.S. and Canada and nearly 30 more from an additional 18 countries, CCCU institutions are accredited, comprehensive colleges and universities whose missions are Christ-centered and rooted in the historic Christian faith. Most also have curricula rooted in the arts and sciences. The CCCU’s mission is to advance the cause of Christ-centered higher education and to help our institutions transform lives by faithfully relating scholarship and service to biblical truth.
Econsult Solutions, Inc. is a Philadelphia-based economic consulting firm that provides businesses and public policy makers with economic consulting services in urban economics, real estate economics, transportation, public infrastructure, development, public policy and finance, community and neighborhood development, planning, as well as expert witness services for litigation support. Its principals are nationally recognized experts in urban development, real estate, government and public policy, planning, transportation, non-profit management, business strategy and administration, as well as litigation and commercial damages. Staff members have outstanding professional and academic credentials, including active positions at the university level, wide experience at the highest levels of the public policy process and extensive consulting experience.
About Calvin College
Founded in 1876, Calvin College is a top-ranked, liberal arts college located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, that equips its more than 3,800 students from 45 U.S. states, 60 countries and five Canadian provinces to think deeply, to act justly, and to live wholeheartedly as Christ’s agents of renewal in the world. Calvin is proud to offer 100+ majors and programs, including graduate-level offerings in accounting, education, and speech pathology and audiology. Calvin students engage in intensive internships, community-based service learning, and significant research that results in publishing and presenting alongside world-class faculty. Discover more at www.calvin.edu.