N.C. A&T celebrates report of $2.4 billion economic impactBy Cash Michaels, Peacemaker Senior Contributor / August 18, 2023
N.C. A&T University Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr. has a lot for which he can be proud.
If a recent report documenting how N.C. A&T State University now has an estimated statewide economic impact of more than $2.4 billion is any indication, Chancellor Martin has turned the nation’s largest historically Black university (HBCU) into one of the greatest educational and economic success stories in history.
“With a documented economic footprint across our state now of more than $2.4 billion and thousands of our graduates contributing to the North Carolina job market each year, our university is fulfilling its land-grant mission in profound, diverse ways,” Chancellor Martin says.
“The outcomes measured in this significant new study provide compelling evidence that investments in North Carolina A&T provide outstanding returns for the people of this state.”
“N.C. A&T is one of the most powerful drivers of economic prosperity in the region.”
Martin is referring to a recent report released by two associate economics professors at the school’s Willie A. Deese College of Business and Economics, Cephas Naanwaab, Ph.D., and Alfredo Romero, Ph.D.
“While North Carolina A&T’s value to the economy of North Carolina is larger than simply its economic impact, understanding the dollars-and-cents value is an important asset to understanding the university’s value as a whole,” the two economists say.
The numbers are impressive.
In 2022-23, N.C. A&T University had an enrollment of 13,487 students – an increase of 1,600 – the largest student body ever enrolled at a historically Black college or university in history, the school says, making it the nation’s largest HBCU for the past nine years.
Chancellor Martin says the academic institution plans to add 2,000 more students over the next seven years and will continue to expand its research programs.
Next, N.C. A&T’s economic footprint has grown an amazing 63 percent in the past five years, up from $1.5 billion in fiscal year 2018. The researchers also determined that the home of “Aggie Pride” generated $1.42 billion in added income to North Carolina, an impact equivalent to supporting over 17,300 jobs.
The key ingredients for N.C. A&T’s sauce of success?
Six areas – alumni impact, university operations spending ($744 million), research expenditures ($157 million), construction spending, visitor expenditures and student spending.
In fiscal year 2022, alumni accounted for $702 million in added income for the state, translating into $1.2 billion for North Carolina. According to Prof. Naanwaab, 42-45 percent of NC A&T grads reside in North Carolina.
“N.C. A&T’s greatest economic impact comes from its alumni and the knowledge, creativity, imagination and entrepreneurship they bring to positions around the state,” Chancellor Martin wrote in a recent edition of EdNC.
“U.S. News & World Report agrees,” Martin continued. “In its last three issues of Best Colleges – its well-known annual ranking of America’s higher education campuses – the magazine has ranked new A&T alumni the second-best compensated in the UNC System, earning a median starting salary of nearly $55,000 and trailing only North Carolina State graduates.
“With a documented economic footprint across our state now of more than $2.4 billion and thousands of our graduates contributing to the North Carolina job market each year, our university is fulfilling its land-grant mission in profound, diverse ways,” Chancellor Martin concludes. “The outcomes measured in this significant new study provide compelling evidence that investments in North Carolina A&T provide outstanding returns for the people of this state.”
The story was very different fourteen years ago.
Harold Martin Sr. was an engineer and former N.C. A&T professor who returned to the university in 2009 as chancellor, and faced a multitude of serious challenges.
Martin raised standards for admissions and academic performance. Today, entering student grade point averages at NC A&T hover at 3.8.
According to Todd Simmons, associate vice chancellor for University Relations, N.C. A&T now recruits a better quality of students from across the country.
“In terms of the quality of the students we graduate year over year, it continues to grow and develop a real national reputation for our university both in the HBCU lane and in the doctoral research university lane as well,” Simmons told NC Newsline.