Hays Fort Hays State University and other Regents institutions have a significant economic impact on their communities and the state, according to a study conducted by the Goss Institute for Economic Research in Denver.
The Kansas Board of Regents published the study in March.
The study showed the state of Kansas receives nearly a 12:1 return on investment in Regents institutions. Each tax dollar spent results in $11.94 in economic activity.
"Through research, education and workforce training, the seven state universities, 19 community colleges and six technical colleges collectively are one of the key engines driving the economy," Edward H. Hammond, Fort Hays State University president, said Friday.
Hammond said it would be difficult to imagine a better investment for the state in today's economic environment.
FHSU contributes to Ellis County being the least economically stressed county in the country, he said.
The university has an overall economic impact of $256,372,573. While it employed 987 people during the year studied, it has an employment impact of 3,833 jobs, according to Hammond.
The effect on wages and salaries was $110,180,951, and contributed $12,691,283 to self-employed individuals' income.
Overall impact of the Regents system is $7.3 billion. Of that total, $3.4 billion is in wages and salaries, as Regents institutions support an average of 95,327 jobs with an average salary of $35,430.
State and local taxes account for $485 million.
The payback period for the state funds paid out to educate students is less than five years of taxes for most graduates.
Volunteerism, students, faculty and staff volunteer services to local nonprofits, individuals and businesses, also were measured in the study.
FHSU emphasizes volunteerism, and its impact of $13,071,300, was significantly greater than the other two regional universities, Hammond said in a news release.
Emporia State had an impact of $6,888,200, and Pittsburg State, $7,842,000.
"And most important in these difficult economic times, higher education stokes the economic furnace to create a brighter future in Kansas," he said.