Topeka The state's investment in a public university system provides residents a share of educational, cultural and economic benefits.
Investors looking for an edge ought to take note.
The Kansas Board of Regents decided Thursday to generously share with the public a major investment opportunity that offers folks a minimum tenfold return.
Divisions of this investment vehicle are known by different names: Wildcats, Jayhawks, Shockers, Tigers, Hornets and Gorillas.
Here's an example of how it works: The state invested $621 million (1997 dollars) in the six universities under the jurisdiction of the Kansas Board of Regents, including Kansas University. Regents staff calculated return on that money, after churning through the state's economy, at $7.6 billion.
"Rather than treating education as an expense, it should be viewed as an investment in earning power of people in the state," said Regent Sidney Warner, a Cimarron rancher and 1956 economics graduate of Kansas State University.
Consider this annual impact (1997):
- 236,000 regents university alumni in Kansas earned $5.4 billion.
- 80,000 regents university students spent $536 million in Kansas communities.
- 3.2 million regents university visitors spent $159 million.
- 32,000 people employed at regents universities earned $651 million.
- 2.6 million people visited regents university libraries.
- $198 million was spent on research at regents universities.
- $609 million in goods and services were acquired by regents universities.
- $54 million was paid to construction companies for capital improvements at regents universities.
KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway said the evidence compiled by Regents indicated that the state's residents were the greatest beneficiaries of the state's investment in public higher education.
He said regents universities provided the state with educational, cultural and economic riches. Without support for universities year after year, he said, the value of the investment suffers.
"People take higher education for granted," Hemenway said. "What we're trying to show is that maintaining a quality system pays off economically in Kansas."
-- Tim Carpenter's phone message number is 832-7155. His e-mail address is email@example.com.
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