Georgia Tech is in the business of Creating the Next – the next idea, the next technology, the next legion of agile minds well equipped to imagine and engineer our future. This is the first in a series of features highlighting the many ways in which Georgia Tech people and their work are Creating the Next.
Every five years, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia (USG) conducts a study to measure the tangible economic impact — collectively and individually — of its 28 academic institutions.
The numbers for 2015 reveal that, once again, Georgia Tech leads the pack, with an annual $2.87 billion impact on the state’s economy.
Wrapped into this number are 7,860 on-campus jobs and an estimated 15,468 off-campus jobs brought about by Georgia Tech spending. The total also reflects the multiplier effect of “re-spending,” which presumes that every dollar spent by an institution or its students generates another 46 cents for the local economy.
These metrics are applied uniformly across USG institutions by the Selig Center for Economic Growth in the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business — and the bottom line tells a positive and important story for each school.
But as the study itself acknowledges, it doesn’t tell the whole story.
Taking up where the study leaves off, Georgia Tech adds to its $2.87 billion economic impact in numerous unique ways, bringing even more benefits to Georgia’s business community and people as only a premier technology-focused institute can.
Supporting Georgia Students with Promise
Georgia Tech is the only University System of Georgia school that offers a debt-free degree to qualifying students from low-income families. For Georgia residents who meet eligibility requirements and whose families have an annual income of less than $33,000, the G. Wayne Clough Georgia Tech Promise program picks up where Georgia's HOPE scholarship leaves off.
The program is for students pursuing their first undergraduate degree, and it combines with other financial aid sources and federal Work Study to cover the costs of tuition and fees, books, standard housing, personal expenses, and a meal plan.
Aaliyah Harris, a third-year student from Atlanta, wanted to follow her mother’s advice to get a college education, and she worked hard in high school to make sure she had the grades to get in. She dreamed of attending Georgia Tech, in particular, but she didn’t know where the money would come from.
“My family isn’t exactly the richest family, and I’m a first-generation college student,” Harris said. “I just can’t say enough how helpful it is to not have to worry about paying out of pocket or going into debt — without Tech Promise, I might not even be here.”
Since 2007, Tech Promise has benefited more than 800 students from 89 Georgia counties who have earned more than 400 bachelor’s and 36 master’s degrees.
Commercializing and Licensing Technology
Georgia Tech is among the top 10 universities nationwide for non-medical research expenditures.
Maggie, a Georgia Tech MBA student, shares how her experience in the TI:GER (Technology Innovation: Generating Economic Results) program will help in her career.
The Georgia Tech Research Corporation (GTRC), which licenses all intellectual property created at Georgia Tech, reports FY 2016 research activities that included:
- $785M in Research and Development Expenditures (a record number)
- 72 Patents Issued
- 321 Invention Disclosures Filed
To free up and push out the hundreds of technologies developed at Tech every year, the Institute’s technology licensing team often partners with business and industry collaborators — many of them here in Georgia — helping them find better solutions to their problems and opportunities for commercialization.
In 2016, Georgia Tech was No. 2 in the state for U.S. patents, and GTRC issued 24 licenses to outside partners, including startups, for Georgia Tech innovations.
The number of Tech-affiliated startups has increased seven-fold since 2009, and Georgia Tech’s VentureLab has helped develop more than 300 startups that have attracted more than $1.1 billion in venture capital. Recently, VentureLab received a $3.4 million National Science Foundation I-Corps grant to expand its work in teaching entrepreneurship.
Always Looking Ahead
Any consideration of Georgia Tech’s economic impact has to look forward as well as back.
The Institute is undertaking a feasibility study on expanding Technology Enterprise Park on the west side of campus, strengthening what is already a hub for Atlanta’s fast-growing biotech industry. Also, the Georgia Tech Foundation has purchased the historic Biltmore Hotel, adjacent to Tech Square, to accommodate even more startups and innovation centers that want to take advantage of close proximity to the Institute.
These additional aspects of Tech’s unique value proposition — past and future — aren’t easily tallied up, and the results, while tangible, will never fit neatly into a spreadsheet. Still, they certainly factor in throughout the state — with an impact that is not only fiscal, but felt.