Study Shows Ohio’s Public Universities Delivered $68.9 Billion in Economic Impact

May 9, 2023 | News, UToday, Alumni
By Meghan Cunningham

The Inter-University Council of Ohio has released an economic impact study that demonstrates the $68.9 billion total impact that Ohio’s 14 public universities delivered in fiscal year 2021-2022.

The economic impact represents 8.8% of Ohio’s total gross state product. The study also found that activities of the public universities and their students support 866,782 jobs — one in eight Ohio jobs.

The IUC, which is a voluntary educational association of Ohio’s public universities including The University of Toledo, announced the results of the study during a press conference May 9 from the Ohio Statehouse.

“Ohio’s public universities are a smart investment for our students and Ohio taxpayers,” said Laura Lanese, IUC President and CEO. “Our graduates earn more because they have a degree.  Consider that the net impact of former students currently employed in the state workforce amounted to $52.6 billion in added income in FY 2021-22.”

The study found that Ohio’s public universities generate significantly more in tax revenue than they receive — about $4.60 for each dollar Ohioans invest over the course of students’ working lives. College graduates earn about $1.2 million more during their careers than individuals with a high school diploma, the study said, which means that they make a significant contribution to the state’s economy.

The study also highlights the enduring value of a college degree. Higher earnings mean that for every dollar a student invests in their education, they will enjoy an impressive ROI of 16.2%, the study found. That significantly surpasses the average return on the stock market of 10.5%.

“Higher education is a smart investment both for the college graduate personally and also for the state of Ohio that needs a highly skilled workforce to support our continued economic growth,” UToledo President Gregory Postel said. “UToledo is proud to provide opportunities for students to achieve their dreams while supporting Ohio’s efforts to attract and retain the jobs of the future.”

Lightcast, an independent consulting firm and leader in labor market analytics, conducted the study measuring the economic impact based on a variety of factors, including expenditures on goods and services for operations and construction as well as research and clinical activities. Economic impact also includes spending by students and visitors and revenue from startup and spin-off companies nurtured by the universities. The largest return on investment comes from the knowledge and enhanced skills students learn at Ohio’s public universities.

The Inter-University Council of Ohio’s 14 four-year research universities and 24 regional campuses provide affordable education for about 290,000 students through associate, baccalaureate, graduate, and professional programs. The members award more than 80,000 degrees and certificates annually.

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