Higher Education in the Chicago Loop and South Loop: An Impact Study – USA
This study examines the impact of over twenty higher education institutions in Chicago’s Loop and South Loop. Together these two areas make up for largepart Chicago’s downtown area. The study shows that the higher education institutions in the Loop and South Loop have a potent impact on the Chicago economy, as well as the character of the downtown.
Over twenty higher education institutions in this area joined an informal work group, convened by DePaul University. The Work Group developed a multi-phase study.
- Sector profile - Using information from the federal government’s database on higher education, together with additional information reported by the institutions, the Work Group assembled a profile of the higher education sectorin the Loop/South Loop.
- Economic impact - Data from the sector profile were analyzed by the Regional Economic Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois to identify the economic impact of Loop/South Loop higher education on the downtown, and the Chicago region.
- Real estate development - Information supplied by the institutions contributed to a profile of space utilization and real estate investment in the Loop/South Loop.
- Marketing study - In October 2004, honor students in DePaul’s Kellstadt Marketing Center of the College of Commerce conducted a 668-case survey of student marketing preferences.
The findings of this multi-phase study give a comprehensive picture of higher education in the Loop/South Loop, and offer a foundation on which to further study all of higher education in the City of Chicago.
- Chicago’s Loop is “the largest college town in Illinois,” with 52,230 students attending classes at institutions that together occupy nearly 7.5 million total gross square feet of Loop real estate—more than double the space of the Sears Tower.
- With more than 12,000 workers, Loop colleges and universities collectively represent one of the city’s top 25 employers. These employees earn wages worth $332 million, with a total regional impact on the output of goods and services of $1,265,000,000.
- Loop higher education institutions spend more than $345 million on goods and services annually, generating $777 million in direct and indirect economic activity that creates 13,500 jobs.
- College students represent a growing living-and-learning community in the Loop, where student residence facilities offer 3,789 beds.
- Ten institutions spent more than $159 million on renovation and new building construction in the Loop from 1997 to 2002, creating 3,280 jobs. Higher education plans to spend $339 million in capital projects over the next four years.
- Higher education occupies 41 separate locations in the Loop and South Loop, including seven significant historic properties, and features two museums unique in the Midwest.
- Events and programs in one academic year at seven reporting institutions drew a combined audience of a half million. Many events were on evenings and weekends, adding to the cultural vitality of the Loop outside business hours.
Chicago Loop Alliance (CLA)
tel. +1 312 782 9160
Sandra Morgenthaler, DePaul University
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Report | Higher Education in the Chicago Loop and South Loop: An Impact Study
06 Nov 2006, pdf, 1MB