Study: Seton Hall has $1.6B economic impact on N.J., supports nearly 10,000 jobs

Seton Hall University has an economic impact of $1.6 billion on New Jersey, directly supports nearly 10,000 jobs and has an impact of $64 million on state taxes.

The economic statistics come from a study by Econsult Solutions Inc. that was commissioned by the university in a first-of-its-kind effort by Seton Hall to quantify the impact the South Orange-based school has on its local community.

The study, which will be released later Wednesday, breaks down the $1.6 billion economic impact into four areas:

  • Wages: $927 million;
  • Operations: $531 million;
  • Ancillary spending: $68 million;
  • Capital: $67 million.

Seton Hall President Joseph Nyre said the study shows the complete impact a university can have.

Joseph Nyre. (Seton Hall)

“Since 1856, Seton Hall has been dedicated to being a home for the mind, the heart and the spirit,” he said. “We are also pleased to be an externally-looking, active and engaged citizen of the region, state and nation.

“Our economic and societal impact goes to the heart of our mission. Our students, faculty and staff are each day challenged to prove ‘What Great Minds Can Do’ — at Seton Hall and in the world at large.”

That impact goes beyond dollars and cents. The volunteer and service efforts of the faith-based school, which stresses servant leadership, are noted in the study as well, including:

  • Service: More than 3,000 Seton Hall students and staff volunteer more than 50,000 hours of community service, providing direct benefits to nearby communities;
  • Business assistance: The school’s Market Research Center provides services to the area business community. It currently is running 23 projects serving 18 businesses;
  • Civic duty: The university invests approximately $1 million annually in community-serving organizations. The school makes regular contributions to the Hunger and Homelessness Food Drive and the Love Thy Neighbor Drive initiative;
  • Youth programs: Seton Hall’s Upward Bound program provides pre-college experience and exposure to high school students who will be first-generation college students.
  • Service, spirituality and social justice: The school’s Division of Volunteer Efforts (better known as DOVE) aims to raise the Seton Hall community’s awareness of social injustice by directly serving others. The program has assisted both domestically and internationally (in locations such as Haiti and El Salvador).

The study also detailed the impact Seton Hall has on the South Orange community and Essex County.

  • Local impact of annual operations ($270 million for South Orange, $504 million in Essex County): The annual operations result in $270 million in total output within South Orange village, supporting 2,160 jobs with $150 million in earnings. That number rises to $504 million in total output within Essex County (home to all three Seton Hall campuses), supporting 3,680 jobs with $234 million in earnings;
  • Local impact of ancillary student spending ($23 million in South Orange, $56 million in Essex County): Within South Orange, ancillary student and visitor spending generate $23 million in total output, supporting 260 jobs with $7 million in earnings. That number rises to $56 million in total output within Essex County, supporting 490 jobs with $18 million in earnings;
  • Local impact of capital investments, construction and maintenance projects ($35 million in South Orange, $62 million in Essex County): In South Orange, the economic impact supported 160 jobs with $9 million in earnings. In Essex County, the output supported 300 jobs with $17 million in earnings. Those numbers are expected to increase over the next few years, as substantial building projects and improvements are underway, with more expected.

Of course, the ultimate goal of any university is to educate. The study released the economic impact of two elements of that.

  • Scholarships, aid ($149 million annually): These dollars are the difference between access and inaccessibility for many students and their families. And for all aid recipients, they fundamentally improve the “return on investment” proposition that so many students and families must account for when deciding whether and where to go to college. Lowering that upfront cost increases the ROI for students.
  • Value of a Seton Hall degree: A recent analysis by the Center for Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University found that Seton Hall produces a 40-year return on investment totaling about $1.2 million per alum — that is to say, an additional $1.2 million in earnings over the course of a career. That figure ranked Seton Hall in the top 11% of the 1,761 schools surveyed.

Taken as a whole, Nyre said the study showed the great impact the school has on the community.

“At Seton Hall, we invest in our students and in our communities,” he said. “They are in a sense one and the same, and our mission as a Catholic university requires it. This analysis has quantified that to some extent — but, in many ways, it’s the unquantifiable aspect that most resounds: At Seton Hall, we cultivate involved and caring citizens and do our best to be good neighbors.”