Communications

The central communications/public information operation for the USG

University System of Georgia state economic impact grows to $18.6 billion

Atlanta — July 19, 2021

In fiscal year 2020, the University System of Georgia (USG) served as a significant source of stability and played a critical role in the state’s recovery with an $18.6 billion statewide economic impact. USG’s impact grew 0.6 percent over fiscal year 2019. The system directly and indirectly generated 155,010 jobs.

Graduates are also seeing benefits, with a new study showing a Class of 2020 graduate on average earning an additional $852,162 over the course of their career as a result of their USG degree.

“With strong support from the state and significant planning from our campuses, USG’s economic impact on local communities across Georgia held steady despite a challenging year,” Acting Chancellor Teresa MacCartney said. “At the same time, a degree from a USG institution continues to add real value to the lives of our graduates and their families. We remain focused on doing everything in our power to help more Georgians complete college and ensure our state has a well-prepared, highly skilled workforce to grow Georgia’s economy.”

The economic impact study found every dollar spent directly by USG institutions and their students generated an additional 47 cents for the surrounding region’s economy. While $12.7 billion of the $18.6 billion was a result of that direct spending, the remaining $5.9 billion was additional spending within local communities sparked by the presence of a USG institution.

With an uptick in direct spending for FY2020, the report found, “In sum, USG institutions were a vital source of economic stability.”

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.

In terms of jobs generated, 34 percent were on-campus positions (52,904 full-time equivalent University System employees), while 66 percent (102,106 jobs) were off-campus in either the private or public sectors. That means for every person employed at a USG institution or the system itself, two people have jobs that support the presence of the institution in the local community.

The Selig Center also conducted a companion study led by Humphreys and Alexandra P. Hill titled, “Lifetime Earnings for University System of Georgia Class of 2020.” The lifetime earnings report showed how work-life earnings increase substantially with each step up in earned degree.

USG’s 2020 graduates who work in Georgia are expected to bring in a combined of $175 billion in lifetime earnings, of which $59 billion (34 percent) can be attributed to their degrees.

More specifically, higher education credentials increase the work-life earnings of the median Georgia resident by $238,455 (certificate), $377,000 (associate), and $1,152,500 (bachelor’s degree). Beyond a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree is worth an additional $247,000 and a professional degree is worth an additional $1,015,000. Finally, a Ph.D. increases work-life earnings by an additional $638,000 over a master’s degree.

The full economic impact report and the lifetime earnings report are available online.

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