USC system, alumni pump $4.1 billion into state’s economy annually
Specifically, the $4.1 billion represents the total dollar value of all goods and services associated with USC, including higher wages earned by graduates and business activity resulting from the university’s spending.
South Carolina residents with bachelor’s degrees earn on average $15,000 more per year than high school graduates, Woodward said, creating what is called a spillover effect for communities.
“When the number of college-educated workers in a community rises, it tends to increase the incomes of all workers, not just the college-educated workers,” Woodward said. “These are known as economic spillover effects. For example, college-educated workers bring new knowledge and skills sets to the workplace that are then partially shared and transferred to others on the job, making other workers more productive.”
In addition to the financial boost, communities with larger numbers of college graduates tend to have better schools, better health care and more involvement from residents, Von Nessen said. And, crime rates tend to be lower in those communities.
USC’s impact is felt all across the state, not just around its eight campuses. Alumni living in Charleston pump $310 million into the state’s economy; in the Grand Strand, alumni account for $137 million of state economic output; and, in the Pee Dee, $132 million a year goes into the state’s economy from alumni living in that region.
The study examined the impact of higher wages that working alumni earn beyond what they would have earned without a USC degree; identified the impact of the increase in wages for all workers in South Carolina created by spillover effects; estimated the economic impact of nontax dollars the university spends; and quantified the increased state tax revenues resulting from the higher wages and expenditures.
The economic impact measured how expenditures increased the demand for goods and services in the region over what the demands would have been without the presence of a university campus in the community. Visit the economic impact website to learn more about USC's impact on the state and for the full study.
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