November 22, 2023
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Report: Cal Poly generates $1.4B


A new report commissioned by Cal Poly San Luis Obispo claims the university has an economic impact of more than $1.4 billion on San Luis Obispo and Northern Santa Barbara counties. That number jumped more than $300 million since Cal Poly last contracted a similar study for it’s 2002 -2003 fiscal year.

The 60-page study was conducted by San Luis Obispo-based Productive Impact LLC.

“Cal Poly is a vital and positive economic force on the Central Coast,” said university President Jeffrey D. Armstrong in statement. “It is one of the region’s top employers and most stable employers, helping the area weather economic downturns.”

Cal Poly is the second largest employer in the area, behind San Luis Obispo County and employee purchases along with the use of area financial institutions and realty industries have helped maintain the region’s economic health, the report said.

One of the university’s biggest direct impacts is a $254.3 million payroll for its 2,741 faculty and staff members who live in the region. In addition, Cal Poly spent $15.9 million on local goods and services in the area and made $16.1 million in local capital expenditures in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013.

While those in college are typically living on shoestring budgets, the spending power of 19,703 students accounted for a hefty chuck change.

Students spent $160.7 million during the study period — on campus and off. Family and friends who visit throughout the year, coming for such events as April’s annual Open House, December and June commencement ceremonies, and September’s Week of Welcome, spent $21.9 million locally, the report said.

Cal Poly is also responsible for nearly 7,500 jobs throughout the region and $14.7 million in sales tax and $13.2 million in property tax revenues contributed to local government coffers. Going forward, the report forecasts that the total economic impact of Cal Poly on the local area in 2022 will increase by more than 40 percent to nearly $2 billion.

“Cal Poly will continue to play a key role in building San Luis Obispo and Northern Santa Barbara counties’ future and will always be a mainstay of the local area,” the report said. “The income generation, human capital development and stabilizing effect of the university’s presence for the next eight years and beyond will continue … Sustaining partnerships with local economic development groups and businesses and developing new collaborations will only enhance the future impacts of the university on the local area.”