Economic Impact Release 6.12.18


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Bruce Johnson, 614.464.1266

Study shows Ohio’s public universities added $42 billion in income to Ohio’s economy
Universities generate substantial return on investment for students, taxpayers and society

Columbus (June 12, 2018) — An economic impact study conducted for the Inter-University Council of Ohio (IUC) indicates that the state’s public universities, their students and regional alumni added $42 billion in income to the state economy in 2016-17. That represents about 6.7 percent of Ohio’s total gross state product.

Conducted by Economic Modeling Specialists International (Emsi) in Moscow, Idaho, the study demonstrates how the value of public universities in Ohio positively influences both the lives of students and the state’s economy. The 14 universities serve a range of industries in Ohio, support local businesses and benefit society as a whole from an expanded economy and improved quality of life. The benefits also extend to the state government through increased tax revenues and public-sector savings.

The universities’ $42 billions of economic impact supported 558,841 jobs in 2016-17. That means one of every 12 jobs in Ohio is supported by the activities of universities and their students.

“The numbers speak for themselves,” said Jay Gershen, president of the Northeast Ohio Medical University and current chairman of the IUC. “The Emsi study confirms that Ohio’s public universities are substantial drivers of economic activity, creators of economic opportunity, and a great long-term investment for students and the state.”

The study makes clear that whether from a student perspective, a taxpayer perspective or a social perspective, higher education’s return on investment is solid. The study reports, for example, that students at Ohio’s public universities realize a 13.7 percent return on their investment – or $4.60 in future earnings for every $1 a student spends on tuition, supplies and opportunity costs.

“When it comes right down to it, Ohio’s public universities are one of the best investments available,” said IUC president Bruce Johnson. “University graduates benefit from a significant earnings premium. Public universities generate more tax dollars than they take. They create and retain wealth. And they perform better than the stock market. These are compelling reasons why supporting higher education should be a public policy priority in Ohio.”

The benefits to students are reflected largely in increased earnings over a lifetime. Benefits to taxpayers consist primarily of taxes paid to state government and used to benefit the state. Taxpayers realize additional benefits in the form of reduced costs incurred by the state to pay for healthcare, crime and unemployment.

About the Study
Data and assumptions used in the study are based on several sources, including the FY 2016-17 academic and financial reports from the public universities of Ohio, industry and employment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Census Bureau, outputs of Emsi’s Multi-Regional Social Accounting Matrix model, and a variety of studies and surveys relating education to social behavior. The study applies a conservative methodology and follows standard practice using only the most recognized indicators of investment effectiveness and economic impact. For a full description of the data and approach used in the study, please contact the IUC for a copy of the full report.

More detailed information about the Emsi study can be found at Forwardohio.org.

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The IUC was established as a voluntary educational association of Ohio’s public universities. Today, the association represents Ohio’s 14 public universities.