Original Research

Economic impact assessment of a South African university campus: A case for promoting on-campus contact learning

David Dyason, Riaan Rossouw, Ewert P.J. Kleynhans
South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences | Vol 22, No 1 | a3153 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajems.v22i1.3153 | © 2019 David Dyason, Riaan Rossouw, Ewert P.J. Kleynhans | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 April 2019 | Published: 29 August 2019

About the author(s)

David Dyason, School of Economic Sciences, TRADE Research Entity, North-West University, Potchefstroom, New Zealand
Riaan Rossouw, School of Economic Sciences, TRADE Research Entity, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Ewert P.J. Kleynhans, School of Economic Sciences, TRADE Research Entity, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Public universities in South Africa play an extremely important role in preparing students for productive and fulfilling careers. Universities also, directly and indirectly, benefit the economy through high levels of operational and capital expenditure and by providing employment to both academic and administrative staff.

Aim: The aim of this article is to quantify the economic benefits of one of South Africa’s largest universities, and to determine what strategic view the university should take to maximise the benefit for the economy.

Setting: The Potchefstroom campus of the North-West University in South Africa is used for the analysis.

Methods: The primary method to determine is a social accounting matrix of the North West province, while data collected through a staff and student survey are used to refine and apply the analysis for the university campus.

Results: The economic benefits of a university are much more significant than might initially be assumed. Among the findings is that North-West University should absorb relatively higher numbers of contact, rather than distance learning, students if it is to make a sustainable contribution to the provincial economy.

Conclusion: Student spending has a direct and significant impact on the economy and helps to promote national income and employment creation within the province. The results of the study provide valuable insights for cities and provinces that have established new public universities.


Keywords

Social accounting matrix; economic impact; university; consumer expenditure; higher education.

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