The director of university relations for Montana State University-Northern said Wednesday that a study being conducted shows the state investment in the university has a good payback for the state.
Jim Potter, representing the university at a forum on issues that will be in the next legislative session, said the study shows that Northern’s work creates $18 million in revenue for the government each year.
“About $9 million comes through Northern every year through the appropriations,” he said. “Our grads and everything we’ve been doing out there has impacted the state to the tune of $18 million. So really, if you want to look at it, we’re getting a 2-for-1 return on the investment.”
The Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Montana is conducting the study and writing the report for the Montana State University system, Potter said.
He added that administrators at Northern have wanted to do an economic study about its impact for some time, but have not been able to afford it. MSU President Waded Cruzado now has commissioned the study for the entire MSU system.
“Their conclusion is, the impact on the state of Montana is huge,” he said.
Potter said it will be a valuable tool for Northern and for the rest of the system, both in general and in justifying the university system’s requests at the next Legislature.
“Here in Havre we look at a school like Northern, and we all can easily see how valuable it is for the community and what we we do, but it’s hard sometimes for people in other communities to understand that,” he said.
Potter added that the impact Northern has in the state revenue picture is a little more than some other units of the university system. More of the money that comes from Northern graduates stays in Montana, he said.
“We primarily have Montana students and they primarily stay in Montana and help generate Montana (revenue),” he said.
“So the money we’re putting into education is staying in Montana,” Potter said.