Press Release / Sept. 14, 2013

Independent study reports SCAD economic impact on the City of Savannah at $386 million

The Savannah College of Art and Design today released the results of an independent study conducted to analyze the economic impact of the university on the Savannah metropolitan area.*  Further information on SCAD’s economic impact on the greater Georgia area is forthcoming.

The study conducted by the economic development consulting firm, Appleseed, revealed that in 2012 the university:

  • created a total economic impact on Savannah of $386 million
  • generated 4,413 jobs
  • accounted for $179 million in wages
  • drove $88 million in student spending locally
  • attracted more than 126,000 visitors into the area.**

Beyond these statistics, the report distinguishes SCAD’s impact on Savannah’s economy by highlighting that the overwhelming amount of revenue attributed to SCAD’s presence in Savannah comes from outside the Savannah area.

“SCAD’s impact on the local economy is particularly noteworthy in that, like Harvard in Cambridge, Mass. and Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., SCAD draws the great majority of its students, and a very high percentage of its revenues, from outside the Savannah area,” said Hugh O’Neill, President of Appleseed. “At the same time, most of the money SCAD derives from these external sources is spent in the Savannah area, generating jobs and income both at SCAD itself and throughout the local economy – jobs and income that in SCAD’s absence, would probably not have come to Savannah.”

“For the past 35 years, SCAD has been proud to call Savannah home,” said John Paul Rowan, Vice President for Strategy and Innovation at SCAD. “We are thrilled that this independent study illustrates the collaborative relationship we have with the city and the vital role SCAD plays in keeping Savannah a vibrant, growing global destination.  Our ongoing investment in the restoration, maintenance and re-use of Savannah’s historic buildings and our relationships with local businesses have helped turn Savannah into the perfect backdrop for our students as both artists and entrepreneurs.”

During the fall of 2012 SCAD Savannah enrolled 8,378 students from all 50 states and 111 countries and employed 1,590 people.  During the year, the school invested more than $40.8 million in the construction and restoration projects such as the SCAD Museum of Art and renovation of Montgomery Hall in Savannah. 

“For more than three decades, the City of Savannah and SCAD have worked side by side and seen the city blossom,” said Savannah Mayor Edna Jackson. “SCAD has breathed new life into long abandoned buildings, all while remaining respectful of Savannah’s history, people and neighborhoods. This has been a true partnership that has led to the revitalization of downtown Savannah and the larger Savannah community.”



Appleseed is a New York City-based company that specializes in economic research and analysis and local economic development planning.  Its economic impact report was calculated using IMPLAN, an economic modeling system that is widely used in economic impact analysis. For this project, Appleseed used a version of the IMPLAN model that is specifically tailored to the economy of the three-county Savannah metropolitan area.

SCAD: The University for Creative Careers

The Savannah College of Art and Design is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution conferring bachelor’s and master’s degrees at distinctive locations and online to prepare talented students for professional careers. SCAD offers degrees in more than 40 majors. Visit

Editorial notes:

* Savannah metropolitan area includes Bryan, Effingham and Chatham counties.

** This number is based on those who visited the Savannah area for SCAD events, such as the Savannah Film Festival, SCADStyle and deFine Art.  It does not include family and friends of SCAD students, faculty and staff.

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