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New study finds USFSP’s economic impact is nearly $443 million annually

Mark Parker



USFSP alone generates nearly $443 million in annual economic impact to the state of Florida. Photo by Mark Parker.

A study released last week stated that across three campuses, the University of South Florida generates $6.02 billion annually in economic impact.

Where does USF St. Petersburg stand?

According to the detailed, 28-page report, USFSP alone generates nearly $443 million in annual economic impact to the state of Florida. For reference, USFSP’s economic impact is roughly the equivalent of St. Petersburg hosting a Super Bowl every year, according to statements from the NFL and civic boosters.

The report states the USFSP campus generates $170,435,630.14 in labor income, with $280,896,925.27 in value-added. The total annual economic output is $442,623,295.12.

“I know that they (USFSP) make a significant impact in our community,” said J.P. DuBuque, president and CEO of the Greater St. Petersburg Area Economic Development Corporation. “So, I can’t really say that I’m necessarily surprised.”

Another key takeaway is that USFSP-related direct spending, together with multiplier effects, supports 13,593 jobs in the area and throughout the state. DuBuque said USFSP provides a valuable labor pool for employers when they need it the most.

“From an economic standpoint, businesses are struggling today more than ever in making sure they have the workforce available to help them be successful,” said DuBuque. “And USFSP provides a local resource for really quality talent.”

According to the report, many of the jobs supported by USF are in high-skill, high-wage, knowledge-based industries. These include life sciences, information technology and financial services.

“I think it also provides us an opportunity as a St. Petersburg community to have a little bit of pride in the impact,” said DuBuque. “Especially coming out of the College of Marine Science … just protecting and understanding our oceans and the natural world is something I think we can have pride in.”

DuBuque added that state and federal governments funding research through the College of Marine Science creates intellectual property and ideas to be commercialized. DuBuque also believes there is no better place than St. Petersburg for this type of research.

“I think it’s going to have a great impact on what’s going on,” he said. “And frankly, I think some other things are going on at USF St. Pete outside of the marine science space that are also going to be making some significant impacts.”

DuBuque noted the addition of a financial technology program and the existing wealth management and creative arts programs also promote St. Petersburg as a thought leader in those areas. He said having a fintech curriculum on the campus, which he hopes turns into a standalone degree, will also have major impacts on the region.

“We have been working alongside USF St. Pete, the Muma College of Business, and the Tampa Bay Wave to start the FinTech X Accelerator program,” he said. “Those are some really solid things that I think we can hang our hat on that will be supporting a growing community in St. Pete and the greater Tampa-St. Pete region.”

According to the report, USFSP received $3.5 million in state funding to provide new course and degree program options. The campus also received $300,000 in state funding to create the Citizen Scholar program, in partnership with the YMCA Youth in Government program.

The report states USFSP spent just over $178 million in expenditures, with close to $90 million in student spending and about $10 million going to research. The campus also generates over $42 million in state, local and federal taxes.

Across the university system, the report concluded that every dollar of state funding helps generate:

  • $14.07 in economic output
  • $8.93 in value-added
  • $1.41 in federal, state and local tax revenue
  • Every $6,227 in state funding to USF supports one job in Florida

“The greater access to USF as a regional university and top-shelf research university provides businesses the access to really, really high-quality talent,” said DuBuque of the university as a whole. “It provides access to partnerships and collaborations with the academic community, and I think those are things that any community that is going to grow its economy is going to need to have.

“We are blessed to have such a strong university in USF St. Pete that is backed by USF proper.”

The study, compiled by a team from the Muma College of Business, provided comprehensive quantitative estimates of the statewide economic impacts generated by university-related spending, and indirect and induced impacts to the economy. These impacts, also known as “ripple” or “multiplier” effects, include supply-chain interaction and increased household spending. Overall, impacts were measured by their effect on employment, labor income, economic output and added value. Data is based on the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

View the full report here.







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