Economic Impact Study for Higher Education

Quantify and prove your institution's value

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What is an economic impact study?

In the context of higher education, an Economic Impact Study (EIS) is an analysis of your institution’s importance and value to the regional economy, as well as the return on investment (ROI) your institution provides for students, taxpayers, and society at large.

In short, it's a report that lets you answer the question: "What would our community look like if our institution didn’t exist?"

By enabling you to answer that question with defensible, unbiased data, an EIS helps you demonstrate value, prove effectiveness, and grow community support.

Economic Impact Study from Lightcast
The EIS Includes Two Types of Analyses

1. Economic Impact Analyses

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Operations Spending Impact

We determine the added net income generated in the region as a result of your institution's payroll and its purchases of supplies and services.

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Student Spending Impact

We identify how local and nonlocal students can markedly affect your region. We measure the money spent on food, transportation, and other items.

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Alumni Impact

We tally the impact of your alumni's higher earnings and increased productivity in the regional workforce.

2. Investment Analyses

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Student Investment Analysis

Graduates gain a lifetime of higher earnings. We compare the present value of these higher earnings with the cost of their education.

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Taxpayer Investment Analysis

We measure the added taxes and public sector savings that your school contributes to the state.

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Social Investment Analysis

We calculate the added state revenue and social savings that result from your school's presence.

When it comes to showing your impact, you need evidence.

A Lightcast economic impact study (EIS) provides objective, third-party data that demonstrates the economic and social benefits of your college.

How it works


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Step 1

Work directly with a Lightcast economist to provide data on your institution.

Step 2

We model your data and produce reports that you can review and adjust.

Step 3

Now you have a customized study that clearly communicates your value to the community.

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Coworkers Discussing Data
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What can you do

with an EIS?

CheckmarkEngage with community stakeholders
CheckmarkJustify new or expanded resources
CheckmarkRaise financial support
CheckmarkImprove the public's perception of education
CheckmarkGenerate goodwill in the community

For example...

The Alabama Community College System found that for every dollar spent


Students Gained

in lifetime earnings


Taxpayers gained

in added tax revenue and public sector savings


Society gained

in added income and social savings

"The ACCS is in line for more funding than ever before and our prospects are looking more and more favorable for success. We believe a big part of this is due to the economic impact data that we were able to provide for legislators."

Barry May,

Executive Director - Workforce and Economic Development

The Alabama Community College System
Quantify the future economic impact of a capital project

Capital Analysis for Higher Education

Upgrading old facilities or constructing new ones? If you're looking to pass bonds, raise support, or persuade your legislature to provide the funding needed for growth, a robust capital analysis can help.

By calculating the impact of construction spending, operational spending, and long-run alumni impacts associated with your project, a capital analysis report can provide the hard data and number stakeholders want to see before making funding decisions.

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Contact us to see what you can do with an EIS or Capital Analysis