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


May 9, 2023


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

Public Universities Generate Impressive ROI for Ohio Taxpayers, Study Finds


[COLUMBUS] Ohio’s 14 public universities delivered $68.9 billion in total economic impact in FY 2021-2022, according to a new study conducted by Lightcast, an independent consulting firm, on behalf of the Inter-University Council of Ohio (IUC). That 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 Lightcast study confirms that Ohio’s public universities are powerful engines driving the state’s economy,” said Gregory Crawford, president of Miami University and current chair of the IUC Presidents’ Council. “By opening the doors to opportunity, Ohio’s public universities build lives and deliver value for our state.”

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%.


“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 Lightcast study measured 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 gain at Ohio’s public universities.





About the Study

Data and assumptions used in the study are based on several sources, including the FY 2021-22 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 Lightcast’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 economic impact and investment effectiveness. For a full description of the data and approach used in the study, please contact IUC for a copy of the main report.


#     #     #


The Inter-University Council is a voluntary educational association of Ohio’s public universities.


Media Contact:

Laura Lanese, President & CEO

Inter-University Council of Ohio