Ohio University

skip to main content

Ohio University adds $2.9 billion annually to Ohio’s economy

OHIO generates substantial return on investment for students, taxpayers and society
An economic impact study recently conducted for Ohio University indicates that Ohio University, its students and statewide alumni added $2.9 billion in income to the state economy in 2016-17. Photo courtesy of: Ohio University
An economic impact study recently conducted for Ohio University indicates that Ohio University, its students and statewide alumni added $2.9 billion in income to the state economy in 2016-17. Photo courtesy of: Ohio University


ATHENS, Ohio (June 12, 2018) – An economic impact study recently conducted for Ohio University indicates that Ohio University, its students and statewide alumni added $2.9 billion in income to the state economy in 2016-17. That represents 0.5 percent of Ohio’s total Gross State Product. OHIO’s $2.9 billion of economic impact supported 40,021 jobs, which means that one of every 174 jobs in the State of Ohio is supported by the activities of OHIO and its students.

Conducted by Economic Modeling Specialists International (Emsi), a leading provider of economic impact studies, the study demonstrates the value of Ohio University and how the institution positively influences both the lives of students and the growth of the state’s economy.

The study makes clear that whether from a student, taxpayer or societal perspective, Ohio University’s return on investment is solid. For example, the study reports that OHIO students realize a 12.8 percent annual return on their investment – or $4.00 in future earnings for every $1 our students spend on tuition, supplies and opportunity costs.

Ohio taxpayers realize an 8.7 percent annual return on their investment in Ohio University – with the benefit coming in the form of future tax revenue and government savings resulting from reducing costs incurred by the state to pay for healthcare, criminal justice programs and unemployment insurance.

"Ohio University's strengths in research, education, and entrepreneurship make our institution a powerful engine of opportunity for the State of Ohio, as well as a great long-term investment for students and the state," said Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis. "This report provides further evidence of the symbiotic relationship between the university and its region. Ohio has benefited immensely from the activity of its public universities."

The report further notes that in return for their investment in higher education, OHIO students will receive higher future earnings that will continue to grow throughout their working lives. For example, the average bachelor’s degree completer from OHIO will see an increase in earnings of $26,400 each year compared to someone with a high school diploma or equivalent working in Ohio. Over a working lifetime, this increase in earnings amounts to an undiscounted value of approximately $1,082,400 in higher earnings.

Additionally, the report indicates that our alumni are an important force in Ohio’s economic growth. All OHIO alumni from the past 30 years, in 2016-17 alone, created $2.2 billion in added state income, which is equivalent to supporting almost 32,000 jobs in the state. 

OHIO is committed to forging strategic alliances between partners and stakeholders, on campus and off, for economic development. These alliances bring together the expertise of individuals and programs in innovation and scholarship, the stewardship of place, and talent development. Some recent examples are as follows:

  • Over the past few years Ohio University has taken steps to develop a strategy – now designated the Innovation Strategy – to ensure that the institution continues to engage substantively with the challenges of the 21st century. That program recently provided funding to three new initiatives that advance interdisciplinary research and student and community engagement.
  • Ohio University also partners with The Ohio State University and Kent State University on the Ohio Innovation Fund, which helps to foster innovative companies that emerge out of the research conducted at OHIO, Ohio State, Kent State and other public universities in the State of Ohio. One of the Ohio Innovation Fund's first investments was part of a $5.5M funding package for Global Cooling Inc., a growing company based in Athens County.
  • TechGROWTH Ohio is a public-private partnership that provides entrepreneurial support to startup companies in southeastern Ohio. The Athens Area Chamber of Commerce recently honored TechGROWTH Ohio with the 2015 Holzaepfel award, the top economic development award in the region.

“Ohio University values the impactful community action programs and meaningful service learning initiatives that greatly augment our educational offerings and provide a transformative learning experience for our students,” said Dr. Nellis. “When knowledge gained in the classroom is complemented by skills mastered through experiential learning, students, faculty members, employers, and communities all benefit.”


Contact: Carly Leatherwood, senior director of communications services, at 740-597-1940 or leatherc@ohio.edu.

Visit OHIO's official media page  for the latest University news and updates, or follow us on Twitter @ohioumedia

About Ohio University
Ohio University strives to be the best student-centered, transformative learning community in America, where approximately 40,000 students realize their promise, faculty advance knowledge, staff achieve excellence, and alumni become global leaders. OHIO is committed to fostering, embracing, and celebrating diversity in all its forms. Our Athens Campus offers students a residential learning experience in one of the nation’s most picturesque academic settings. Additional campuses and centers serve students across the state, and online programs further advance the University’s commitment to providing educational access and opportunity. Visit www.ohio.edu for more information.

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 more information, visit https://www.ohio.edu/research/economic_impact_study.cfm.