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Study shows Liberty's significant contributions to the region

April 26, 2010 : University Advancement staff

A study released today shows Liberty University was responsible for contributing $217 million in direct spending to the Lynchburg area in 2009.

With 12,000 students on campus and more than 50,000 students taking courses online, Liberty remains the state’s largest and fastest growing university. In the region, Liberty is the second largest employer, with one out of every 10 jobs within the city either directly or indirectly attributable to Liberty University, the study says.

The study highlights other areas of growth in which the university has bolstered the region’s economy, such as tax revenue, tourism and revitalization projects. It also shows the university’s positive role in the community through students’ volunteer work, facilities that enhance the quality of life in the area, and by meeting the workforce demands by producing trained graduates in key growth areas, such as healthcare and education.

“This study validates Liberty University’s contribution to the Lynchburg community. Many have speculated about Liberty’s financial impact but this study conservatively and objectively quantifies exactly what that impact has been,” said Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr.

Among the study’s findings are:

  • Between 2001 and 2010, university employment increased by 3,023 jobs, or 351 percent.
  • Between 1992 and 2009, the university’s fall enrollment increased from 8,500 to 46,949, an increase of 38,449 students, or 452 percent*.
  • Local taxes paid by the university itself, university tenants, employees, students and visitors contributed approximately $8.4 million in tax revenue to the region in 2009; LU generated approximately $5.4 million in tax revenue for the city of Lynchburg.
  • In 2009, out-of-town visitors to Liberty were responsible for one out of every nine hotel nights spent in the Lynchburg area, resulting in approximately $5.6 million in hotel revenue.
  • Liberty students and employees provide approximately $4.9 million worth of volunteer service hours in the region each year.
  • The LaHaye Ice Center attracts more than 100,000 people each year, and the Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre has received national attention as North America’s only Snowflex synthetic ski slope since opening in August.
  • Liberty is meeting 100 percent of the regional demand for graduates in the fields of nursing, business/commerce, accounting, business administration and management, among others.

“Liberty University last commissioned an economic impact study like this one about 10 years ago. This new study is based on fiscal year 2009 data (the most recent available). The university has grown considerably in the last year, continuing to enhance positively its impact on the local community,” Falwell said.

The study, “Analysis of the Economic Contribution that Liberty University makes to Region 2000 and Virginia,” was conducted by Mangum Economic Consulting, LLC of Richmond, Va.

* The study was based on enrollment numbers as of June 30, 2009, which included 35,000 online students. Current online enrollment is now more than 50,000.

View the full report here.