Study: GW Contributes More Than $500 Million to Virginia Economy

University supports 5,200 jobs in the commonwealth, according to Chmura Economics and Analytics report.

Virginia campus
December 09, 2015

A new study released Tuesday finds the George Washington University contributes more than half a billion dollars to Virginia’s economy, thanks to its growing Virginia Science and Technology Campus and graduate education centers.

The report is the first formal measure of the university’s growth and impact in the commonwealth.

Chmura Economics and Analytics of Richmond, Va., conducted an analysis of GW’s operational spending, research spending and capital investments in Virginia, as well as the university’s employee and student spending and economic benefits for Virginia’s workforce. The study found GW’s total impact in Virginia was more than $530 million in fiscal year 2014, and the university supported 5,275 jobs in the state.

“The George Washington University is internationally known as the largest university in our nation's capital, but we are also one of the leading providers of higher education—as well as a leading source of advanced research—in the Commonwealth,” George Washington President Steven Knapp said. “We are proud of our more than 50-year presence in Virginia and of the fact that, as this report shows, thousands of GW alumni, students, faculty, and staff are playing a vital role in Virginia's economy.”

GW has developed a unique role as the largest private research university in Northern Virginia, with a focus on science, technology and graduate studies. In the Northern Virginia technology corridor, GW has research programs in cybersecurity, big data and health sciences, including 17 state-of-the-art research labs in Ashburn.

GW has longstanding ties with the commonwealth. The university launched its first graduate center in Hampton Roads more than 50 years ago and now also has centers in Alexandria and Arlington. The centers offer unique programs, including the nation’s first degree in art therapy at the Alexandria center.

GW’s School of Nursing is headquartered at the Virginia Science and Technology Campus in Ashburn and has grown rapidly since 2010 to become one of the largest nursing programs in Northern Virginia with highly ranked on-campus and online education programs. The school is pioneering a new effort to support veterans entering the health care industry with a new accelerated Veterans Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.

Employment spending was the largest contributor to GW’s economic impact in Virginia. The study found six in 10 of all GW faculty and staff lived in Virginia in 2014, with an average salary of $55,685. More than 6,500 GW students are also Virginia residents, along with more than 50,000 alumni. The study found GW contributed $21.5 million to the state government through taxes and $1.9 million to local governments.

The analysis of GW’s economic impact in Virginia comes after the D.C. Chamber of Commerce recently awarded the university its 2015 Economic Impact Award, noting the university is the largest in D.C. with more than 26,000 students and is one of the District’s largest employers.