Fulfilling the dream: New study touts DSU’s economic impact

A Delaware State University student walks by the Optical Science Center for Applied Research building at DSU. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

DOVER — Science, technology, engineering, math.

It’s early 2018 and Delaware State University is going full bore on all the disciplines.

Researcher Omar Borla learned plenty about the school’s recent past and forecast a promising future, too.

Much of the success surrounds the university’s commitment to relevant educational training.

Omar J. Borla of the Center for Applied Demography and Survey Research recently determined the economic impact of Delaware State University. (Submitted photo/University of Delaware)

“I was really surprised and encouraged on how much emphasis the university puts on STEM,” Mr. Borla said. “It’s very important because that’s where the job market is going.”

Operating from the University of Delaware’s Center for Applied Demography and Survey Research, Mr. Borla studied DSU’s 2016 economic impact and determined that the school injected $235 million into the economy through a variety of streams.

Taking the lead on a DSU-funded economic impact review last summer, Mr. Borla concluded that the school is infusing the state with talented job candidates ready to boost public and private sector enterprises.

“Delaware State University fulfills a very important role in the state and … state government is reaping the benefits of that more proficient labor force,” Mr. Borla said. “I’m confident that trend will continue.”

After spending two decades in New York in the banking industry, Mr. Borla’s career shift to information gathering an analysis uncovered a refreshing perspective on DSU’s evolution.

“I was surprised when I got into the in-depth research,” he said. “During the last 10 to 15 years Delaware State University has been moving up at an accelerated pace in terms of graduation rates and quality of people there.”

While the study’s overview is based on numbers and projections, Mr. Borla believes a conservative formula approach underestimates the economic punch the university will throw at the First State.

A Delaware State University student walks by the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center at DSU. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

“I feel very confident, professionally, about the results,” Mr. Borla said. “We stand behind the results and we have a lot of checks and balances to assure that the information presented is (accurate and in a proper context.)”

There’s a temporary void at the top of DSU’s leadership chain as a permanent president is sought, but the upcoming 12 months of development are already in motion, highlighted by constructing a new residence hall in a public-private agreement slated to require a $60 million investment during 2018-19.

“For 2018, the impact of a new president of the university won’t make that much of a difference since there’s so much money that’s already been spent,” Mr. Borla said. I’m confident the new president will reinforce that.”

Interim DSU President Wilma Mishoe surmised, “Delaware State University remains true to its mission statement by serving as a significant economic engine in the state of Delaware.

“It is our expectation that Delaware State University will continue to increase its already high standing as a major education and economic asset in the First State.

As the General Assembly reconvened Jan. 11, DSU officials were touting the economic impact results to legislators who make key budget decisions connected to university funding assistance.

A Delaware State University students walk in front of the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center at DSU. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

With the State of Delaware’s $40.5 million appropriation to DSU in 2016, the school estimated that it created $5.80 for each dollar provided in the $235 million impact. That’s $28 million more economic in-state than reported in the last study completed in 2005.

According to a DSU news release, the study used five categories of spending to calculate total economic impact:

• Compensation (wages, salaries and benefits to employees)

• Operational spending (non-compensation and non-capital)

• Capital spending (construction, machinery and equipment)

• Student expenses (on and off campus)

• Expenses of DSU visitors off campus

A Delaware State University student walks out of the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center at DSU. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

DSU’s main campus is located on 356 acres next to U.S. 13 and there are satellite campuses in Wilmington and Georgetown. The university owns farm properties in Kenton and Smyrna, and DSU’s Airway Science Program has a fleet of planes based at the Delaware Air Park in Cheswold.

The Univesity offers 42 Bachelor’s, 16 Master’s and five Doctoral Degree programs through five academic colleges and 21 departments.

After crunching the numbers, Mr. Borla lauded the intangible diversity of the school’s undergraduate and graduate school makeup. DSU enrolls 4,328 students on average, including 3,993 undergraduates.

“The university has had an extremely huge impact on minorities since minorities traditionally have been under-served to say the least,” Mr. Borla said. “DSU is so friendly and open in that sense.”

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