The University of South Carolina and its alumni pump an estimated $4.1 billion into the state’s economy every year, of that the Columbia campus accounts for about $3.3 billion.
USC released the results of its study on the university’s impact on the state during a press conference Thursday at the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce. Ike McLeese, president and CEO of the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce, heralded USC as one of the state and region’s largest economic engines.
McLeese participated in the press conference along with Dr. Joey Von Nessen, a USC research economist; and Ed Sellers, chairman the board of BlueCross and BlueShield of South Carolina. Sellers praised USC for providing the skill sets that he said are “essential to what we do” and noted that five to 10 percent of the work force at BlueCross came from USC.
Von Nessen and fellow USC economist Doug Woodward found that the university and its alumni support nearly 53,000 jobs or one in every 37 in the state. In the Columbia region 43,688 jobs in South Carolina are directly and indirectly supported by the Columbia campus.
The number of college graduates in a region is the No. 1 predictor of that region’s economic success, Von Nessen said. South Carolina residents with a bachelor’s degree earn on average $15,000 more per year that high school graduates.
The full study of USC’s economic impact is available at www.sc.edu/impact.