$5.25 billion economic impact

The University of Georgia’s annual economic impact is $5.25 billion, according to a study that assessed the impact of the university’s teaching, research and service missions on the state’s economy.

A large portion of UGA’s economic impact stems from its degree programs. To calculate the economic impact of the instruction that UGA faculty members provide, economist Jeffrey Dorfman took data on the increase in lifetime earnings that accrues from each specific degree and major offered by UGA and multiplied that figure by the number of graduates in those majors in the 2015-2016 academic year. UGA awarded nearly 10,000 bachelor’s, master’s and professional degrees last year, and a total of 195,000 UGA alumni live and work in Georgia’s 159 counties—where they play a critical role in government, non-profits and businesses of all sizes.

The University’s thriving research enterprise, which has grown dramatically in recent years, also plays a key role in Georgia’s economic vitality. According to the commonly used economic impact modeling software known as IMPLAN, each dollar of external research funding, which primarily comes from federal agencies and private foundations, generates a $2.01 economic impact as those funds are spent in the local economy on equipment and personnel. UGA’s research expenditures surged 14 percent in the past year alone, creating a vast ripple of economic activity across the state.

Research grants also lay the foundation for discoveries that improve health, ensure safe food and water, promote cyber, domestic and global security, and build vital and prosperous communities. More than 600 commercial products derived from UGA research—ranging from vaccines to crop varieties and cybersecurity software—have reached the marketplace, and UGA earned $7.6 million in licensing revenue in the past fiscal year alone. UGA research has led to the formation of nearly 150 companies, including Synageva BioPharma, a graduate of UGA’s Innovation Gateway incubator that was recently acquired for $8.4 billion by a global biopharmaceutical company.

The third major component of UGA’s economic impact stems from its public service and outreach mission. Units such as the Small Business Development Center, Carl Vinson Institute of Government and Marine Extension help businesses and communities prosper by bringing them evidence-based advice and expertise. In the past fiscal year alone, UGA’s 17 Small Business Development Center offices across Georgia served 4,267 people and helped launch more than 350 new businesses. SBDC-assisted business created more than 3,000 jobs during that period, as well.