Savannah College of Art and Design

Savannah College of Art and Design

The Savannah College of Art and Design’s (SCAD) economic impact on Georgia has reached an all-time high, according to a study conducted by Tripp Umbach, a national consulting firm for not-for-profit, arts, and tourism sectors. 

In fiscal year 2023, SCAD generated $1.3 billion in annual economic impact for the state of Georgia, a 70% increase from the last report conducted for fiscal year 2019, according to a press release.

Tripp Umbach analyzed the economic impact of SCAD using the IMPLAN input-output model. Primary data collected from SCAD and the firm’s benchmarking databases found SCAD has a positive influence on the state’s economy through jobs, student and visitor spending, large investment into capital projects, operational spending, public events, alumni earning power, public safety, and charitable giving.

“In 1979, 71 students enrolled for SCAD’s first academic year. Some 45 years later, SCAD has defied all odds and grown into the world’s biggest and best university for creative professions, generating a monumental $1.3 billion annually for Georgia,” SCAD President and Founder Paula Wallace said in the press release. “Equally impressive is this data point: 74,000, the total number of SCAD students and alumni drawn to Georgia from every U.S. state and more than 120 nations to learn at the world’s elite university for applied research and invention. SCAD Bees also join Georgia’s workforce — in tech, entertainment, design, manufacturing, finance, health care, and more — leading and launching their own startups and providing employment for their neighbors.”

SCAD is a private, nonprofit, accredited university, offering 100 academic degree programs to its more than 17,500 students across its locations in Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia; Lacoste, France; and online via SCADnow. 

SCAD employs more than 2,300 people and impacts more than 12,000 jobs across the state. Annual state and local government revenue attributable to the presence of SCAD totals more than $51 million. This is revenue collected by the government, in addition to that which is paid directly by the university, and includes taxes paid by employees, visitors to SCAD, and vendors who conduct business with SCAD.

The university’s festivals, screenings, museums, and galleries, all open to the public and emphasizing SCAD as a community-engaged institution, generate $127 million annually in tourism for Georgia.

SCAD has had a 45-year legacy of giving to the Savannah and Atlanta communities. Tripp Umbach estimates SCAD employees and students generated more than $38.5 million annually in charitable donations and volunteer services across Georgia. 

In fiscal year 2023, SCAD spent more than $14 million on security services in Savannah and Atlanta that benefit local residents, including ShotSpotter technology, thousands of strategically placed public- facing security cameras, and 24/7 security patrols. SCAD was the first university in the U.S. to use ShotSpotter technology and has implemented outdoor sensor technology in downtown and midtown Savannah.

See the full report at

This story comes to GPB through a reporting partnership with Rough Draft Atlanta.

Tags: Georgia  Savannah  scad  economy  data  college