By The Numbers

Eight Ways We Know

Higher Ed Drives Virginia’s Economy

1
Top-Ranked Higher Ed System In The United States

As with SmartAsset’s #1 ranking, Virginia’s higher ed system consistently earns top rankings for quality, value, and return on investment—branding Virginia a talent leader.

2
Winning Amazon’s HQ2 Investment … The Right Way

Amazon and state officials credit Virginia’s standout higher ed system and resulting tech talent pipeline as the reason Virginia won the Amazon HQ2 investment despite offering less financial incentives than other states.

3
Retaining Top Honors As Best State For Business

Citing our “world-class higher education system,” CNBC kept Virginia in the #1 spot as the Top State for Business in 2021.

4
Major Economic Growth, Jobs, And Revenue Impacts

Virginia’s public higher ed institutions each year contribute more than $36 billion in Gross State Product, account for more than 167,000 jobs, and generate more than $3.2 billion in state tax revenues for the Commonwealth.

5
A Higher Ed System That More Than Pays For Itself In State Revenues

Each tax dollar invested in Virginia’s public higher ed system generates more than $21 in Gross State Product and returns $1.92 in revenue to the State Treasury.

6
Virginians See Our Higher Ed System As A Sound Place To Invest

Large majorities of Virginians in both parties say we should be proud of our top-performing higher ed system. 85% say our higher ed system is a “valuable asset” of the Commonwealth and describe it as “well run” and a “sound place to invest public dollars.”

7
Virginia’s Top Graduation Rates Produce A Strong Return On Investment For Students

With the 2nd highest graduation rates in the nation (more than 70%), Virginia’s higher ed system delivers a strong ROI for students. SmartAsset puts the average 20-year ROI of a 4-year degree from Virginia’s higher ed system at $403,200.

8
Lower Cost Per Degree Than Neighbors And Peers

Virginia’s higher ed system also wins high marks for cost-efficiency. A 2019 Lumina Foundation report found that Virginia produces top graduation rates despite spending less per degree than neighboring states and states with similar higher ed systems.  And, in Virginia, the cost per degree has been going down over the past decade.


Virginia’s Top-Performing Higher Education System

By The Numbers

#1
Virginia higher education system’s national ranking by SmartAsset based on graduation rates and return on investment.
$21
generated in the Virginia economy by every $1 of state investment in higher education
$1.92
revenue returning to the State Treasury for every $1 of state investment in higher education
167,000
jobs the public higher education system supports
$36 billion
the Virginia higher education system’s annual contribution to Virginia’s economic output
82%
Virginians who say we should be proud of our top-performing higher education system
84%
Virginians who say higher education is a good investment because it leads to higher incomes and a stronger economy
85%
Virginians who say our colleges are “well run” and a “sound place to invest public dollars”
39th
Virginia’s ranking for per-student state support of higher education
$6,519
Per-student state support for higher education in Virginia (compared to $10,969 in TN … $10,742 in NC … $8,800 in MD … and a US average of $8,636 per student)
Growth4VA is a campaign of the Virginia Business Higher Education Council