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University System of Georgia state economic impact grows to $18.5 billion

Atlanta — October 13, 2020

The University System of Georgia (USG) recorded a statewide economic impact of $18.5 billion for fiscal year 2019, a 4.5 percent increase from fiscal year 2018. USG also generated 157,770 jobs.

Additionally, a Class of 2019 graduate is predicted to earn $888,563 more over the course of their career as a result of their degree from a USG institution.

“USG and our 26 institutions play a critically important role in local economies all across Georgia,” USG Chancellor Steve Wrigley said. “At the same time, a college degree has never been more essential to success in the workforce and for our state’s economic future. As Georgia’s public college and university system, USG remains committed to improving on the state’s investment in higher education and carrying out our ultimate mission to prepare students for life and work with a college degree.”

The annual economic impact study revealed every dollar spent by USG institutions generates an additional 47 cents for the regional economy. Of the 157,770 jobs generated by USG, 33 percent are on campus, while the remaining 67 percent of those jobs are located within institutions’ home communities. On average, each on-campus job led to the creation of two additional off-campus jobs as a result of spending by the institution. The 2019 study also showed $12.6 billion of the $18.5 billion came from direct spending by institutions, while $5.9 billion came from additional spending within their local communities.

The annual study is conducted on behalf of the Board of Regents by Jeffrey M. Humphreys, Ph.D., director of the Selig Center for Economic Growth in the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business.

This year, Humphreys and Alexandra Hill of the Selig Center also conducted a companion study titled “Lifetime Earnings for University System of Georgia Class of 2019.” The Center’s research shows work-life earnings increase substantially with each step up in postsecondary educational attainment, a finding that holds true for both Georgia and the nation as a whole.

Graduates of the University System of Georgia (USG) in 2019, who will work in Georgia, can expect lifetime earnings of $170 billion, of which $59 billion (35 percent) can be directly attributed to their degrees. On average, that amounts to an additional $888,563 in work-life earnings per graduate.

More specifically, higher education credentials increase the work-life earnings of the median Georgia resident by $183,475 (certificate), $415,570 (associate), and $1,211,615 (bachelor’s degree). Beyond a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree is worth $211,305 and a professional degree is worth $1,017,155. Finally, a PhD increases work-life earnings by $643,385 over a master’s degree.

Click on these hyperlinks to read the full economic impact report and the lifetime earnings report.

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