USC system, alumni putting $4.1 billion in state economy

The University of South Carolina has always been an economic boost to the Midlands. And a new report shows exactly how much money the school is pumping back in to the Palmetto State.

According to the study by USC Economist Joey Von Nessen the university annually brings in 53,000 jobs. That equals 1 in every 37 in the state. Even more important, the school has brought in $4.1 billion into South Carolina's economy.

That amount comes from the total value of goods and services associated with USC; from higher wages earned by graduates, to business activity from the university's spending.

Von Nessen said the degrees have a beneficial impact to the economy.

"Its no secret that higher education plays a huge role in community development. From economic growth to quality of life and a lot of social implications as well; what we call economic spillover effects."

The main reason for the $4.1 million comes from the school's approximately 155,000 alumni living in the state.

"We have data on where they are and what their degrees are. So we went back and looked at the wage premium they were able to command because of their USC degree. We have alumni who get jobs and earn additional wages and create benefits for the state in virtually every county.

The money also comes from economic spillover effects and non state funded expenditures, resulting in more taxable income.

"When you have a greater percentage of college graduates in the workforce, it brings in new knowledge to the workforce. It brings new skill sets to the workforce."

Blue Cross Blue Shield Chairman Ed Sellers said the proof is in the pudding.

"Five to 10% of our workforce in the Midlands comes from USC. That is between 300-600 people at all levels of management and skill levels."

The study included all eight campuses around the state, which employs about 14,000 people.Researchers expect the numbers to stay strong in the coming years.

For a complete look at the study, visit