Post-secondaries added $8.6 billion to local economy over 12 months

A study conducted by Calgary Economic Development (CED) and Economic Modeling Specialist showed Calgary's seven post-secondary institutions added $8.6 billion to the local economy in fiscal 2014/15 by way of alumni activities, operations, research efforts, student expenditures and visitor spending.

Mary Moran, president and CEO of CED says the impact of post-secondary institutions as an economic engine is extraordinary and underappreciated. Along with the financial contributions, Moran notes that the role of post-secondaries in driving Calgary's progress and making it a great place to live is immeasurable.

Mount Royal participated in the study, along with the University of Calgary, SAIT, St. Mary's University, Ambrose University, Bow Valley College and the Alberta College of Art & Design.


$8.6 billion

Total impact


$6.3 billion

Impact of alumni


$1.6 billion

Impact of institutional operations


$663.3 million

Impact of research


$94.1 million

Impact of student spending


$4.5 million

Impact of visitor spending


The greatest contributor, at $6.3 billion of the $8.6 billion added to the economy was the income generated from alumni who either entered or re-entered Calgary's workforce with additional skills. The economic boost was driven by the higher earnings and increased productivity provided to Calgary employers.

"Nearly three-quarters of Mount Royal students come from Calgary and more than 70,000 alumni remain in the city and contribute to the local economy," says David Docherty, president of Mount Royal University.

"Given this, it is vital to demonstrate in real dollars how post-secondaries, like Mount Royal, deliver value to Calgary's economy every day."

Day-to-day operations among the seven institutions (including the net impact of payroll and expenses, but excluding research activities) accounted for $1.6 billion spent during the study period. The number of full-time equivalent employees was 10,221 altogether.

The total impact of research activities was $663.3 million, including $278.6 million in research spending, $50.5 million in start-up companies and $334.2 million in productivity gains.'

According to the study, investment into post-secondaries delivered robust returns to society, taxpayers and students. For example taxpayers received a 17.6 per cent rate on return from investments into Calgary's post-secondaries with tax and public sector savings.

For every $1 spent by ...

Returned in lifetime earning for students
Returned in added provincial income and social savings for society
Returned in tax and public sector savings


Calgary post-secondary study executive summary

Calgary post-secondary main report

Post-secondary education is good business for Calgary - Calgary Economic Development