Creating value for University of Akron students and the region


The University of Akron today released the results of independent research calculating the economic impact of UA on the Northeast Ohio region, which showed an overall impact of $2.7 billion in fiscal year 2016 – 2017 as a result of the University’s presence. Of particular note, the research projects that UA graduates will have a lifetime return on their investment (ROI) in their education of almost five times the cost of earning their degree.

Interim UA President Dr. John C. Green said, “Many other studies have shown the increased earnings potential for individuals who have a college degree compared to those who do not. It is particularly noteworthy that there is such a significant ROI for UA graduates, which highlights the value of being a Zip.”


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The study was conducted by Economic Modeling Specialists International (Emsi), which describes itself as “a leading provider of economic impact studies and labor market data to educational institutions, workforce planners, and regional developers in the U.S. and internationally.” The UA-specific research was part of a statewide economic impact study Emsi conducted for the Inter-University Council of Ohio, the organization representing Ohio’s 14 public universities.

Benefits for individuals and region 

Dr. John Green

Dr. John Green

The study analyzed UA’s economic impact on its primary service area, which includes the counties of Summit, Cuyahoga, Stark, Medina, Portage and Wayne. In addition to the investment benefit analysis for UA students and taxpayers, the study assessed such topics as University employment and the resulting expenditures by UA employees, purchases of goods and services by the University, student expenditures for food, housing and transportation, the impact of visitor spending resulting from attendance at UA events and activities and the impact of University research and entrepreneurial activity. Data from fiscal year 2016 – 2017 (July 2016 to June 2017) were used in conducting the study.

Highlights of the Emsi report include:

  • During fiscal year 2016 – 2017, past and present UA students generated $2.2 billion in added income for the region.
  • UA students invested a present value of $395.8 million in their education, which includes tuition, fees, books and supplies as well as forgone time and money from attending classes instead of working. The study projects increased lifetime earnings for a UA student of almost $1.263 million, a benefit-to-cost ratio of 4.8.
  • Taxpayers benefit from their higher education investment by a 7.5-to-1 ratio in cumulative value (higher taxes due to increased income and less government costs in the form of improved health, decreased crime and lower unemployment).
  • Increased lifetime earnings by UA students along with the increased productivity of the businesses that employ them are estimated to be $12.8 billion.
  • Almost $25 million in annual impact from visitor spending occurred as the result of UA events and activities (athletic contests, Visit Days, concerts and recitals, art exhibits, etc.)
  • UA added $15.7 million in income to the region during the period through start-up and spin-off companies resulting from UA research.
  • Nearly $350 million was added to the regional economy as a result of UA’s day-to-day operations (employee payroll and resulting spending in the region for living expenses, and the purchase of university goods and services).
  • The total $2.7 billion in economic impact represents support for more than 36,732 jobs in the service area, or one out of every 47 jobs.

Green concluded, “It is clear that higher education is important to the lives of individuals and the overall economic health of our region and state, and this study underscores the vital role that UA plays in providing those benefits and creating value for our students and everyone in the area.” 


Media contact: Wayne Hill, (O) 330-972-2148 or (C) 216-408-1211 or, or Alex Knisely, 330-972-6477 or, or Lisa Craig, 330-972-7429 or