With a $36 million annual budget, Huntington University’s continued growth benefits more than just their private university.
This year’s enrollment is the largest the university has seen in its 120-year history, totaling more than 1,355 students. The university has enjoyed record-breaking enrollment over five consecutive years, and HU President Sherilyn Emberton said their continuous growth not only helps their university and students but the larger community as well.
“Increased enrollment is a win,” Emberton said. “That’s a win for us locally, for our local economy, as well as our regional economy and our state. We’re proud to be a part of that.”
A recent study conducted by Western Kentucky University found that the university’s economic impact was $62 million each year, and Emberton said the university grosses about $36 million in sales annually.
As the university attracts more students, more money is spent locally.
“Our students themselves invest about 20 million annually in our community and our region,” Emberton said. “So, again not only are they a future workforce, they’re consumers of the products in the community we currently serve.”
HU spends nearly $2 million in capital projects, which supports local roofers, electricians, plumbers and construction crews, and HU is one of the largest employers in the county, supporting nearly 600 jobs.
As Huntington County’s population continues to age, Emberton said the university is drawing in students from across the state, region and country to northeastern Indiana.
International students at Huntington University represent 22 different countries, and HU has seen a more than 10 percent increase in diversity. HU also had a 68 percent increase in student enrollment from central and southern Indiana.
“Hopefully we’ll retain them as a part of the workforce development,” Emberton said.
Emberton said HU is a predominant player in workforce development because the private college industry creates nearly 30 percent of all degrees presented in the State of Indiana, and the university offers advanced training opportunities and post-secondary education. The university graduated more than 360 students total last year
“So that’s 360 new people to our region for workforce,” Emberton said. “But every year, there’s about 800 residential students who are a part of our local economy. So all of them are temporary workers or part time workers who our local businesses have the opportunity to hire, and I like that part.”
Not only does HU spend locally, it invests locally, too. Emberton said the university invests its $29 million endowment regionally, growing $8 million between local and regional banks.
On top of all of that, Emberton said she values the relationship that HU has built with both the city leadership and county leadership, along with partners like Pathfinder Services and other area businesses.
“Just in the past decade, it’s amazing how that relationship has grown,” Emberton said. “We try to be a good partner. Our students do partnerships. We do service projects in our county. We hire and work with local companies to provide jobs and opportunities. We also give to the different initiatives that go through our region because it has to be that type of partnership we have to see a benefit, not only a short-term benefit but really a long-term benefit for our county.”