Vancouver Island University generates $406 million in direct and indirect economic benefit to Nanaimo, Vancouver Island and Sunshine Coast region, according to an economic impact study commissioned by the university.
The report also highlights a estimated $204-million GDP, value-added benefit to the economy as well as $38.4-million in tax revenue generated through university-driven employment.
University and local government officials officially unveiled the report at the university's Nanaimo campus Wednesday. VIU president Ralph Nilson said the document would provide a starting point for a conversation with the community on the course the school should steer in the coming months and years.
"I think it's important as the university grows to be able to demonstrate facts about this community to the region," he said.
The $57,000 study, conducted by consulting firm Roslyn Kunin & Associates, pored over past VIU financial statements, planning and regional strategies, major capital projects and student enrolment numbers, followed by interviews with officials, unions and local First Nation and municipal groups.
It concluded that for each dollar the university spends, $1.75 is generated in the economy through indirect or induced spending.
The total $406-million figure includes student and visitor economic activity worth $116 million.
The report also estimates that VIU's presence in the region is responsible for the equivalent of 3,095 full-time jobs.
VIU's 1,600-plus international students credited with boosting the university' economic heft, generating almost $42.5 million in direct benefits to the region alone.
Also notable is the study's assertion that three proposed new infrastructure projects at the university could spur an additional $280.1 million in gross output to the region's economy, on top of the existing economic benefits laid out in the report. Included in the list is a new health and science centre, a sports and wellness centre and IT upgrades.
Nilson said the report shows the university has grown in the coming years.
"This information is very, very helping to us in leveraging support from a variety of places," he said. Nilson added the university will distribute copies of the report throughout the community to get feedback.
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