Economic Impact Study: Students at Schreiner University
An economic impact analysis is designed to estimate both the direct and indirect effects on the economy that are associated with any given type of expenditure. In other words, an increase in the demand society has for a product sets in motion a series of various expenditures from the companies and organizations that provide what is needed to make that product. The parts and labor have to come from somewhere, so the economic impact is not just on the company from which the product was ordered, but on that company's suppliers and their suppliers, all the way down the chain. When it comes to services, though, such as would be seen with higher education, the economic impact analysis is somewhat different. Since the student is not ordering a good or a product of any kind from the school, there is more to the actual story than meets the eye.
Suppliers that provide textbooks and other materials can be part of the analysis, but that would focus more on the impact on the learning institution itself. When focusing on the students and the economic impact they face when attending an institution of higher learning, an economic impact analysis has to focus on how paying for higher education is carried out and how the need to pay for higher education impacts the overall economy (Kadlec, 2013). If students are spending money on education, they are not spending money on other things. That affects the school, but also affects the rest of the community and even the global economy through a lack of purchases. In the past, studies have been done that have looked at the impact of colleges and universities on local economies.
These include the expenses of supplies and other goods needed by students, and money the college spends in order to obtain what it needs. Money spent by faculty, staff, and students has also been examined. But what of the students themselves? How does the cost of attending a college or university impact their ability to buy and pay for other things. Retail expenditures like groceries, housing, and transportation are all affected by how much the students must pay in order to attend an institution of higher learning, and the more money they pay to the school the less they will have for anything else (Joint, 2013). Studies also have to look at money that comes into the state from outside sources (such as people coming to college from out of state) as well as money that moves within the state (such as locals attending the college). Here, the focus will be on the students of Schreiner University and how they are impacted by the cost of attending the university.
Schreiner University is a private, liberal arts college located in Kerrville, Texas, with a student population of approximately 1,200 (Schreiner, 2014). Tuition and fees are paid at a flat rate for 18 credit hours, instead of paying for a number of separate things that can all add up (Schreiner, 2014). Current 18-credit-hour tuition is just over $22,000 (Schreiner, 2014). While that is significantly higher than the majority of public universities in Texas, many people who attend the university also get institutional aid. Once they have received that aid, they pay less than $1,000 more for 18 credit hours than they would pay if they attended a public university in Texas, on average (Schreiner, 2014). However, not every student there receives that aid. For those who do receive help the cost of attending college is comparable, but for those who do not the cost can be prohibitive.
That can keep some students from going to the university, but more often it simply puts them and their families into a difficult financial position. In turn, that can have bigger impacts on the overall economy (Kadlec, 2013). It is not just the student who loses out when he or she must pay a significant amount to get a college education. The community also loses out on revenue that it would receive because the student would be spending money on something other than tuition. However, with the university's flat rate, at least the student knows how much he or she will be expected to pay, instead of finding that a lot of different fees are required that were not figured into the tuition.
The economic impacts of attending Schreiner University are very important when it comes to how these impacts are affecting the students and how they will affect them in the future. Many college students struggle to pay their bills, whether they are just out of high school or they are going back to school and have a family to support (Kadlec, 2013). Either way college can be difficult, but it is also very hard to put a price on a good education. That is why many students elect to attend a college like Schreiner University, because they want to go to a private school where they know they are going to learn a great deal and be well prepared for their career. What they may not be prepared for, though, are the financial ramifications of attending this particular college. If they receive aid from the school they will pay about the same as they would at a public school, but if they do not receive aid they will pay significantly more. In either scenario they will be required to pay out a lot of money for their education, which can make finances difficult.
While they are in school, they will not have as much money as they would have if they were not paying tuition, and that becomes a hardship on the entire local economy. Businesses do not receive as much money, since there is less disposable income in the community, which can cause those businesses to spend less, as well. They do not order as much product or as many supplies, and that can have far-reaching implications for the suppliers of those particular businesses. Additionally, the business owners may also struggle, because they are less likely to have disposable income if their businesses are not doing well. The burden of student debt can extend well beyond just the original price of the tuition payments and the financial hardship on one person or family (Kadlec, 2013). Unfortunately, most people fail to realize this is taking place, and therefore they do not see the true financial and economic impacts that a high-priced private college can have on the town in which it is located. While a school of this type can bring many good things into the community, there are also negative economic results which can easily arise.
Financial Options for Education
Grants and scholarships can help some students with their educational expenses, but many of them will need to take out loans that they will have to repay at a later date (Kadlec, 2013). Student loan debt is a significant issue for these students, as it will impede what they are able to do financially after they graduate (Joint, 2013). It can also affect what they spend while they are in school, because they will often try to save money so they can pay their loans off faster (Kadlec, 2013). This is especially true if they are students returning to school after starting a family, or if they have other obligations they have to consider in addition to their student loans (Kadlec, 2013). With the costs of student loans rising and the high price of many colleges and universities, a number of students are finding that the only option they really have for attending school and getting an education is to take out student loans (Joint, 2013; Kadlec, 2013). While that seems like a good choice at the time because they need an education, they can be putting their short- and long-term finances at risk.
Students who attend Schreiner University, along with the majority of students who attend private colleges, will need to take out loans in addition to any grants or scholarships they receive, so they are able to pay their tuition. Since the loans do not have to be paid back until the person graduates, it can feel like free money in many ways (Kadlec, 2013). What many people do not really take into account, though, is that the entire time the person is in school, the interest is accruing in the loan (Kadlec, 2013). By the time the person graduates, the amount of debt he or she expected has grown significantly because of the interest, and with interest rates on the rise more students are finding that they owe much more than they would have agreed to if they would have really stopped to calculate the interest charges they would end up with when their education was complete (Joint, 2013).
The Current Recession
Adding to the problem of student loans and other economic issues dealt with by the students of Schreiner University and other private colleges, is the recession. Some…