Study lists annual impact of Calgary post-secondary institutions at $8.6 billion

St. Mary’s University was one of seven Calgary post-secondary institutions (PSIs) that took part in a study to determine the annual economic impact that PSIs have as a catalyst to Calgary’s economic growth.

The study, conducted by Calgary Economic Development, lists a dollar amount of the economic impact of Calgary’s PSIs at a total of $8.6 billion in added income in the Calgary region in 2014-15. This total amount is comprised of the operations of the institutions, the impact of research, student spending, visitors’ spending and the significant impact of alumni.

Through the study it was determined that over a lifetime, the economic impact of higher education for the students, the taxpayers and society in Alberta is in excess of $180 billion.


“The impact of post-secondary institutions as economic engines in our city is extraordinary, and is highly underappreciated,” said Mary Moran, President & CEO of Calgary Economic Development. “Higher education’s benefit is that it inspires Calgarians to the innovative thinking that drives our progress as a great place to make a living and a life is immeasurable.”

The results concluded that Calgary taxpayers benefit from a 17.6 per cent rate of return on investments in Calgary post-secondary institutions. It was also determined that for every dollar invested, $3.50 was generated in economic benefits.

“In providing an exceptional academic experience for students, St. Mary’s plays a vital role in preparing young people to take on diverse roles that drive the success of the Calgary economy and make our City a great place to live, work and to thrive,” said Dr. Gerry Turcotte, President and Vice-Chancellor of St. Mary’s University.

This report was a joint initiative conducted in November 2016 by Economic Modelling Specialist International and Calgary Economic Development. The report was created using data collected from each of the seven individual post-secondary institutions, Statistics Canada and the Government of Alberta, from the 2014-2015 fiscal and academic year.

For more information on the Calgary Post-Secondary Institution Economic Impact Report, visit the Calgary Economic Development website.