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The Economic Impact of James Madison University

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the economic contribution that James Madison University (JMU) makes to the Harrisonburg Metropolitan Area and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Although the primary mission of JMU is to prepare students “to be educated and enlightened citizens who lead productive and meaningful lives,” the university also produces important secondary benefits to the region and state through increased economic activity and enhanced economic development potential. This economic impact study is an update to a study last performed for FY 2015 and employs broadly similar methodology and data inputs. 

The study has two components. The first part examines the economic contribution that results from university-related spending. This contribution includes the economic activity stimulated by university-related spending. These effects not only include the direct injection of university-related expenditures into the regional and state economies but the consequent chain reaction of spending and re-spending that occurs as the result of this initial stimulus. The second part examines a broader set of economic and social benefits that result from the presence of the university, including economic development, workforce development, community engagement, environmental sustainability, diversity, research and development, entrepreneurship and innovation, industry partnerships and business growth, civic engagement and governmental relations, and tourism and amenities. 

Economic Impact Table

This study is the fifth economic impact study that has been conducted for James Madison University (JMU) over the last two decades, with the last one completed in 2016. Chuck DeHart, former Assistant Director of Institutional Research at JMU, authored the first three studies, with Tim Kestner, an economist with the Virginia Employment Commission performing the IMPLAN modeling. This study and its immediate predecessor have been conducted by the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service.

For the full paper, download the file below.


The Economic Impact of James Madison University on the Harrisonburg Metropolitan Area and Commonwealth of Virginia