Education

How much is USC worth to SC? School says it adds $5.5 billion a year to state’s economy

FILE: University of South Carolina president Harris Pastides speaks to the graduating class of 2017 during their graduation ceremony.
FILE: University of South Carolina president Harris Pastides speaks to the graduating class of 2017 during their graduation ceremony. online@thestate.com

The University of South Carolina system has a $5.5 billion-a-year impact on the S.C. economy, supports one in 35 jobs statewide and produces nearly $220 million in taxes for state government, according to a new study.

The study, released Monday by USC’s Darla Moore School of Business, says the 50,000-student system is “returning tangible economic benefits to graduates, businesses and communities throughout South Carolina.”

Expect to hear those numbers again.

USC likely will use the findings as ammunition in its effort to lobby S.C. lawmakers for more state money for higher education next year.

“This study once again demonstrates that higher education is unquestionably a worthy investment,” USC president Harris Pastides said in a statement. “Supporting higher education is not part of a zero-sum game — it benefits not only those earning their degrees, but also increases prosperity for for the entire state and every citizen.”

Among the study’s findings:

▪  USC supports 60,250 jobs statewide

▪  The school returns $219.5 million a year to the state in tax revenue

▪  USC’s athletic programs add $225 million a year to the economy and support 2,787 jobs

▪  The USC School of Medicine in Columbia has a net impact of $81.4 million and supports 484 jobs

▪  Visitors to USC’s campuses have a $50 million-a-year impact on the economy of their local communities

USC’s downtown Columbia campus is responsible for about $4.2 billion of the system’s annual impact. The rest is split among seven other sister schools.

Avery G. Wilks: 803-771-8362, @averygwilks

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