Data published on a government website, www.stimulus.alabma.gov, show that JSU is expected to get $6.5 million in stimulus money.
According to its information on JSU’s website, that money has not helped create any new jobs at JSU, but it has en-abled the university to continue employing 34 people who might otherwise have lost their jobs.
“I certainly believe it’s served its purpose over here because otherwise we would have had to resort to reducing our faculty or some other more stringent recourse,” said Suzanne LaRocca, director of internal audit for JSU. “It al-lowed us to continue another year providing (for) our clientele, which is the students (and) faculty.”
Of the $6.5 million expected at JSU, $78,589 will go to federal work-study programs, $415,600 to a critical infra-structure security and assessment laboratory, and $6,018,588 will be state fiscal stabilization money.
The university has recieved $3.3 million in stabilization funds so far. The bulk of it, $1.9 million, was used to pay for utilities, LaRocca said. The second largest portion the allocation, $1.4 million, has been used to pay salaries for teachers and staff members. Another portion of the money, $400,000, is being used for the transit system.
It’s not clear at this point if the remaining money will be used to save or to create jobs, but according to one eco-nomic forecaster, the latter would be unlikely.
Ahmad Ijaz, director of economic forecasting at the Center for Business & Economic Research at the University of Alabama, said that despite talk of the stimulus package creating new jobs, the stimulus is more likely to save jobs like those at JSU.
“It really did not create any jobs. If it did anything, it saved jobs,” Ijaz said. “It has helped them retain some people, but it was never meant to create jobs because government spending really does not create any jobs.”
LaRocca also said the university does not expect to create new jobs with the money but at JSU the smallest alloca-tion of stimulus dollars, which is being used for the work-study program, might serve as an exception. University of-ficials are using that money to pay students to do minimum-wage jobs that are at the university and within their re-spective fields of study.
“It kind of is almost like a job creation,” LaRocca said. “If we didn’t have the students performing those jobs we would have to hire another employee or put the burden on another employee.”
To date, the university has received about half of the funds. It will receive the second half in the next year and the following year it will receive none, unless congress takes further action.
Officials are not yet certain how the university will move forward without the federal funding, if the economy doesn’t recover.
“We are hoping that when the stimulus dollars go away that the economy has changed and turned around, and that it has done what it was supposed to do,” LaRocca said. “If by chance that doesn’t happen, we’ll have some serious considerations to make.”
Contact staff writer Laura Johnson at 256-235-3544.