St. Ambrose University's economic might caught even the school's president off-guard.

In 2012, the school produced business spending of $188 million, according to a 48-page economic impact report unveiled Wednesday, about twice as much as Sister Joan Lescinski thought.

She called that statistic and others in an economic impact study by Strategic Economics Group of Des Moines "happy surprises."

The university also created 1,913 jobs in 2012 and has a payroll of $38 million and generated $73 million in personal income, according to an economic impact study released by the university.

The university commissioned the study in December, looking at how the school's purchases, payrolls and local spending by its employees, students and visitors affects the local economy.

"It is not just direct economic impact but also secondary salaries and how one dollar spent by St. Ambrose ripples through the economy," said Mike Poster, the university's vice president for finance.

The study shows that of that business spending, $117 million was directly related to operations on the school's Davenport campus. Overall business spending is expected to grow to $206 million by 2017.

Expansion on campus proved to be an economic development tool, according to the study, as $15 million per year in new spending was a result of $89 million in construction over the past decade.

The study also showed the financial might of St. Ambrose students. They contribute $46.5 million in business spending annually, according to the study. Visitors to the school poured $5.9 million into the local economy in 2012.

Moving forward, the study can be used with student recruiting and soliciting alumni donations, Poster said.

"Donors want to know what kind of impact their gift will have," Poster said. He cited the school's industrial and mechanical engineering programs as well as the master of physician assistant studies program that is currently in the accreditation process.

The document can also be an economic development tool, said Tara Barney, president of the Quad-Cities Chamber of Commerce. In recruiting businesses to locate here, a study like St. Ambrose's can point to students, level of education in the community and strength of higher education in the community.

(8) comments


I called once to see if my wife could enroll in this great adult business education program they have. The tuition was absolutely through the roof, precluding any average adult from attending.
What they were doing was going after the big corporate money for their employees. And then I've heard too that their instructors are pressured by their administration to just pass the students because the college wants the revenue from the corporate student sponsors.


Non-profit does not mean they don't have a large income, just that there are restrictions on where and how money is spent. That is likely why they are building and growing.
It would be interesting to do a bigger study into the effect of lowering the cost, giving a higher education to more students (with less debt) and enabling more educated citizens. The cost of a college degree is out of reach for too many people and will cause big problems in our future.


I thought Ambrose was a not for profit organization? Seems like they are rolling in the money.

Voice of Truth

I wonder if the study went into the detail of what specific businesses were awarded all of the economic spending done by this institution? It would be interesting to see who specifically benefited from this spending. Perhaps the same companies and people, over and over again being awarded projects and revenue? With this is who you know.


A special thanks goes out to all the kids that took out loans to pay for this.


This certainly would be very impressive.... if it was true.

They're using 'multipliers' that have no basis in reality.

Try dividing by at least a third. That would be much closer to the truth.


Since they are doing so well maybe they need to start paying property taxes.

Arc Angel

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