Auburn University makes $5.63 billion impact on state of Alabama, says new study

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Auburn University and its alumni make a $5.63 billion economic contribution to the state of Alabama, including creating more than 27,000 jobs in addition to university employment, according to a new study.

“Even during this challenging pandemic, Auburn has been a critical economic engine for Alabama," President Jay Gogue said. “With nationally recognized academic programs, along with our capacity to build partnerships and foster innovation through our renowned research and outreach efforts, Auburn benefits individuals, organizations and communities all across our state.”

The study notes Auburn’s instruction, research and outreach resources, active faculty and student engagement and extension presence across the state as major assets for Alabama communities. 

Researchers based the study on recent statistical and financial data from Auburn’s main campus, Auburn University at Montgomery, the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, which has offices in all 67 counties. The study was conducted by Economic Research Services in Montgomery and Auburn’s Division of University Outreach, which has coordinated the ongoing impact studies for Auburn since 1996.

The major components of Auburn’s $5.63 billion impact are:

  • A direct economic impact of $2.2 billion, representing Auburn’s in-state expenditures, such as payroll and purchases, student spending on local housing and food, construction and spending by visitors to university events. 

  • An increase in human capital from Auburn’s high-quality educational programs, representing a value of more than $3.42 billion in earning power of Auburn graduates residing in Alabama.

  • Auburn’s impact is also responsible for creating 27,312 jobs in Alabama in addition to university employment.

  • Auburn provides the primary academic support for a number of major state industries, businesses and occupations through its wide range of degree programs, professional education and training.

  • Auburn supports innovation, industry collaboration and entrepreneurship that promote the economy of the state, as well as the economic and security interests of the nation as a whole.

Auburn’s $5.63 billion economic contribution marks a 1-percent increase from the previous study, demonstrating that even during the economic downturn associated with the COVID pandemic, the university’s robust institutional capacity still produced an increase in its overall economic contribution to the state.  

“This study confirms again that the university greatly contributes to the quality of life in Alabama, especially during difficult times such as we’ve all faced with COVID-19,” said Royrickers Cook, vice president for University Outreach. “The university is a significant component of the state’s economy and human capital, while providing access to educational resources and services into the community for the well-being of all our citizens.”

Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn’s commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact.