2010-04-29 / Community

Cal Lutheran University a significant economic factor

CLU’s impact on Ventura County is $142 million
By Nancy Needham nancy@theacorn.com

Jamshid Damooei Jamshid Damooei Many Thousand Oaks residents see value in having California Lutheran University as part of the community; now data has been presented that shows the school’s economic impact on the county, state and country.

Jamshid Damooei, PhD, spent nearly a year collecting and analyzing the university’s economic impact by looking at items such as payroll, operating expenses and local purchases by students and campus visitors. The economic activity among regional, state and national businesses that provide goods and services to the school was also considered. Part of the mix included spending by those affected by purchases made by university employees, students and visitors.

Damooei is co-director of the Center for Leadership and Values and chair of the Department of Economics, Finance and Accounting at the university.

According to Damooei, the university’s total annual countywide economic impact is $142 million, with $22 million in taxes. Statewide impact is $213 million, with $33 million in taxes. The nationwide impact is $370 million, with $50 million in taxes.

The report is based on financial data, surveys completed by nearly 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students and personal interviews.

“The city impact has not been done,” Damooei said.

Taking a university’s economic impact down to the county level is unusual, the financial specialist said.

He would have to create a different model structure to find out the impact on the city, he said.

Other data that wasn’t collected for the study are on contributions the university makes through volunteers, impacts of its graduates, business relationship enhancements, educational assistance to the community and cultural benefits, said Lynda Fulford, associate vice president of university relations.

The use of facilities helps local politics, sports, businesses and educational pursuits, Fulford said.

“Going back in history, the local symphony and theatrical groups have come out of CLU,” Fulford said.

“If a community like Thousand Oaks didn’t have a university like CLU, they’d turn heaven and earth to get it,” said Mayor Dennis Gillette.

The school is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Since classes began in 1961, the school has grown from 330 students to 3,700. There are 457 employees. The school’s annual budget is $65 million, with $23 million in capital expenditures.

The Scandinavian Festival, homecoming, graduation and other event expenditures come to $54 million, the study showed.

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