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Tuesday, February 23, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 64, Issue 99

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Eating disorders affect many college students

Wig-shop suspect is UH dropout

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Local, state government impacted by UH System

UH is financial catalyst for government and surrounding businesses

By Faye Chmaitelli
Daily Cougar Staff

As an institution for higher education, UH has become a financial catalyst for the city and the state.

Among the universities in the broader southeast region (Harris county and the surrounding counties), UH is a leader in economic contribution to both state and local governments as well as to local businesses.

For the short-term, UH claims approximately 50,000 students of the 70,000 university students in the area, both increasing regional income and enhancing employment in the city by their graduation.

The value of so many local workers comes as the result of extreme urbanization in this region, where the need for human capital is great.

Competent and college-prepared employees make the city of Houston an economic leader and, due to the growing expense in importing workers, such local employees are now, more than ever, a hot commodity. 

That's where the UH System, which includes Main, Clear Lake, Victoria and Fort Bend campuses, plays a critical role.

Houston now has an incredibly diverse economy that requires an advanced work force, able to preserve growth in the private sector. 

Because Houston employs only a small number of state and federal workers, its economy is almost entirely dependent upon private consumers. 

Urban Houston has one of the most ethnically diverse populations. With approximately 50 percent of the city's population made up of African American, Hispanic or Asian American cultures, the University has done well to match that percentage exactly in enrollment. 

The UH System also claims nearly 3,000 international students. Since a work force includes all capable citizens, diversity among the graduates from the major campuses is vital.

UH also boasts complete adaptability to the demographical changes in the city and state, and graduates a percentage of seniors matched to this diversity.

As for the long-term ramifications, students who finish can expect a high rate of return on their university investment. In a recent report to the UH Systems Office, Resource Economics Researcher Milton Holloway reported that a bachelor's degree held a return rate of 17.9 percent. This is the annual percentage after taxes, inflation, direct costs and lost market wages.

Compared to the lifetime earnings attributable to a high school diploma, which figure in at about $1.15 million, a bachelor's degree raises the estimate to $1.9 million. At the same time, a master's can expect $2.16 million while a professional will glean $3.9 million.

Also in the way of long-term gains, state and local governments benefit from the taxation of employed graduates in the region who has a higher earning potential.

Holloway's research also found that state and local governments receive additional annual revenues in increased taxes which included 4.2 percent for a Ph.D. and 7.5 percent for graduates with professional degrees. Increased taxes paid to the state each year from a bachelor's degree returned about 4.4 percent.

In all, state and local governments take in an annual tax income increase of about $5.8 million from each year's graduating class at the UH system.

Moreover, the number of jobs and volume of salary created to support the system itself supplements the city in tax dollars. 

The government gained $441 million in total personal income from the 30,500 campus-related jobs that are supported directly or indirectly by the four campuses. 

Finally, there is the impact on the local business volume which totals $861 million every year. This includes the business created in the immediate areas surrounding UH campuses.

Beyond the enormous contributions to the state and local economies, the University's relationship with the city includes another extension.

The absolute social values of an enlightened population cannot be calculated. As UH System Chancellor and President Arthur Smith said, "As we enrich our students' lives they, in turn, complement the work of our universities by reaching out into the world around them. It is through the interrelationship between education and research that much of our direct service to the community can be left."
 

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