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The University System of Georgia (USG) served as a source of stability for the state’s economy in FY 2020, and played a critical role in the state’s recovery coming out of the pandemic with an $18.6 billion statewide economic impact. This reflects a 0.6 percent growth over the previous year.

USG also directly and indirectly generated 155,010 jobs over the past year.

“We are excited that the University System of Georgia continues to have a major impact on the state’s economy, and that we were able to play such a critical role in the state’s recovery coming out of the pandemic,” said Sachin Shailendra, Chairman of the Board of Regents. “While this past year was a challenging one for everyone, we are pleased that the USG’s impact on the local communities held steady and were a vital source of economic stability. At the same time, we continued our mission of preparing students for success in the next phase of their lives.”

According to information released by USG, graduates of the state’s colleges and universities are seeing benefits. A new study shows 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.

The study is conducted annually 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. It found that 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 the increase in direct spending for FY2020, the report found, “In sum, USG institutions were a vital source of economic stability.”

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.” This report showed how work-life earnings increase substantially with each step up in earned degree. According to this report, USG’s 2020 graduates who work in Georgia are expected to bring in a combined $175 billion in lifetime earnings, of which $59 billion (34 percent) can be attributed to their degrees. 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. A Ph.D. increases work-life earnings by an additional $638,000 over a master’s degree.

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.


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