Christian higher education makes a huge impact on our world, and a new study from a Philadelphia-based consulting firm has calculated the annual economic impact of Christian higher education at around $60 billion annually.
The study was commissioned by the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities, of which LeTourneau University is a member. The study found that the 142 Christian colleges and universities across the country educate 445,000 students, employ 72,000 faculty and staff and serve 3.5 million alumni around the world.
Key findings of the national CCCU study reported that for every $1 in federal grant money a student receives, CCCU institutions provide $5 in aid to that student through grants and scholarships. LETU alone provides nearly $16.5 million annual in institutional scholarship aid, including a new dual-credit scholarship for $16,000 for high school students who attend LETU after taking dual-credit courses.
The student loan default rate among students at Christian colleges and universities is nearly half the national average. Even though CCCU schools are tax exempt, they still generate $9.7 billion in federal tax revenue each year. For every $1 in federal grant money a student receives, CCCU institutions generate more than $20 in federal tax revenue.
The report also showed that 1 in 3 CCCU students are first-generation college students and half of them come from families making less than $50,000 annually.
More than 1 in 3 CCCU students do community service while enrolled in college, and CCCU students perform an estimated 5.4 million hours of community service annually. To read the entire CCCU report, visit: cccu.org/economic-impact/
But beyond the economic impact, Christian institutions like LeTourneau University have a profound effect on the lives of our students as they discern their vocation, advance their faith and integrate their faith and their work in every workplace and in every nation where God may call them to serve.
The value proposition is clear: LETU graduates get jobs and an excellent return on the investment they've made in a college education.
We are a private university, but we do much public good. We graduate classroom teachers, nurses, law enforcement officials, and mental health counselors who contribute to the welfare of our communities. We graduate builders who create jobs with their innovative ideas. And we contribute to the quality of life of East Texas through the Belcher Center, NCAA sports, and in ministries and churches.
LETU employs over 870 faculty and staff, mostly in Longview, but also including those at locations in the Dallas and Houston areas, as well as online faculty who can teach from anywhere. We contribute to the local economy daily through shopping at local retailers, restaurants and more.
In the past decade, we have made more than $54.1 million in capital improvements which have added more than 177,000 square feet to university facilities, with many of the construction being done by local workers and craftsmen. Our students have made an impact on this area through volunteering nearly 69,000 community service hours each year, and our counseling center has provided more than 8,700 counseling sessions since it opened in October 2013. Many of those sessions provided counseling to local members of the East Texas community on a reduced fee scale to assist those needing financial assistance for counseling services.
I am proud of the work of our university and the role it plays in educating the next generation. As the Christian Polytechnic University, we are an international university that attracts students from East Texas, from around the U.S.A. and from around the world. Our significant impact for God's kingdom will only increase in the years to come.