As Aurora University celebrates the centennial of its move to Aurora in 2012, its contributions to the local economy continue to rise. A new economic impact study finds that AU adds more than $325 million annually to the Chicago area economy, up from $306 million the last time the study was conducted. The increase can be attributed to record enrollment, growing cultural programs and ongoing construction on the Aurora campus.
Additionally, the university employed 349 people on the Aurora campus and created another 1,058 new jobs in the region through its spending.
The study underscores the university’s contributions to the local economy and investment in the community as AU looks toward its second century in the Fox Valley. The report, conducted by EconImpact using American Council on Education methodology, factors in direct and secondary spending, alumni earnings and social benefits.
Other highlights of the report include:
- AU contributes almost $110 million to the Kane County economy, an increase of more than 17 percent, and $50 million to the Aurora economy alone.
- AU employees, students and visitors directly add $18.2 million in spending to the local economy. Secondary business spending brings the total spending impact to $47 million.
- An AU graduate in the Chicago area with a bachelor's degree earns $21,657 more than someone with a high school diploma, while alumni with master's degrees earn $26,544 more than someone with an undergraduate degree. Collectively, alumni earnings add $174 million to the regional economy.
- AU contributes $104 million in social benefits to the economy such as reduced crime, incarceration, unemployment and welfare expenditures, according to the study.
The AU impact on the community isn’t limited to the economy. A separate report by the Wackerlin Center for Faith and Action that details campus volunteerism estimates Aurora AU students spent more than 1,000 hours serving in the community and raised more than $10,000 for local agencies during the fall semester. In 2011, more than 100 organizations were helped by AU volunteer projects such as campus-wide service days, mission trips, and food and clothing drives.
For more information, read the full Economic Impact Study.