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Study Reveals Chapman University’s $213 Million Economic Impact for Orange Could Cushion the City in a Recession The university also generates $536 million to help Orange County thrive.

A study by one of California’s leading economic research and consulting firms has concluded that Chapman University not only helps the region thrive, but the university could serve as a stabilizing force and lessen the predicted recession’s impact on the city of Orange. 

Chapman University’s total economic impact in 2018-19 was significant, generating $213 million for the city of Orange and $536 million for Orange County. Chapman’s University’s spending and student and visitor spending in Orange during the same year topped $149 million, according to the reports from Beacon Economics. Such stability also helped the city of Orange, home to Chapman University, outperform all peer cities without a comparable higher education institution during the Great Recession.

The taxable sales data from the city, county and state show that the proximity to a four-year school stabilizes and potentially appreciates the local economy; for the five years after the Great Recession, the city of Orange saw an average annual 7.2% increase in taxable sales compared to 5.6% for Orange County and 6.2% for the state. In this same period, Chapman University enrollment expanded by a total of 18.2%.

For nearly 70 years, Chapman University has worked as a committed partner and neighbor in Orange, supporting thousands of jobs and creating millions of dollars in essential tax revenues at the state and local levels, and contributing to stable economic growth for the city. The university also sponsors cultural and artistic programs and provides social services that enrich the lives of everyone in the community. 

“As the numbers show, Chapman University’s commitment to our partnership with the city has measurable, positive results,” said Chapman University President Daniele C. Struppa. “When Chapman thrives, so does our hometown, and we’re proud to build a stronger community together.”

Chapman commissioned Beacon Economics to conduct a thorough analysis of the university’s contributions to the city of Orange, Orange County, and California. The firm’s research shows that large institutions like Chapman provide stability for housing prices, employment and other economic indicators. 

The third-party firm issued two reports:

  • The Economic, Fiscal and Social Impact Analysis documents the university’s economic impact — job creation, labor income and economic output; its fiscal impacts or tax revenue generated; and its social impact — partnerships, artistic and cultural resources and philanthropic support. 
  • The Regional Intelligence Report compares economic, employment, and housing trends in the city and Orange County before and after the Great Recession.

The Beacon Economics reports show that university contributions expand the economic and cultural vitality of the communities surrounding the campus.

  • 22% of Chapman’s staff and faculty live in the city of Orange.
  • Students contribute 100,000 hours of volunteer service to the local community each academic year.
  • Student teachers from Chapman work 110,075 hours each year in Orange Unified School District classrooms. 
  • Free telehealth counseling services are available to the community through the Frances Smith Center.
  • Chapman’s fraternities and sororities collected and donated approximately $559,700 to local nonprofits between fall 2018 and spring 2020. 
  • The Hilbert Museum, which is free and open to the public, draws more than 30,000 visitors to Orange annually who stay to dine and shop in the city.

About Chapman University

Founded in 1861, Chapman University is a nationally ranked private university located in Southern California. Chapman is categorized by the Carnegie Classification as an R2 “high research activity” institution and offers personalized education to more than 9,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The campus has produced a Rhodes Scholar, been named a top producer of Fulbright Scholars, and hosts a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honor society. Based in the city of Orange, Chapman also includes the Harry and Diane Rinker Health Science Campus in Irvine. In 2019, the university opened its 11th college, Dale E. and Sarah Ann Fowler School of Engineering, in its newest facility, Keck Center for Science and Engineering. Learn more about Chapman University:


Media Contact: 

Cerise Valenzuela Metzger, Director of Public Relations, 714-289-3143, 

Photo Caption: A recent analysis by Beacon Economics confirms Chapman University’s total economic impact is $213 million for the city of Orange and $536 million for Orange County. The stable support could help Orange continue to thrive during the anticipated recession and even fare better than peer cities without higher education institutions. 

Cerise Valenzuela Metzger

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