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In our commitment to unleashing the potential of people and ideas, and propelling broad-based prosperity, we ran an extensive study that demonstrates our position as an essential driver of Florida’s economic vitality. UCF is directly supporting the state’s goal to be the 10th-largest economy in the world.

Lightcast’s Economic Impact Study for Higher Education explores UCF’s significant impact on Florida’s economy, as well as the benefits and return on investment the university generates for taxpayers, students, alumni and society. The study reflects data from the 2021-22 fiscal year.

Florida map

UCF Generated $8.1 Billion in total added income for Florida equivalent to supporting 91,933 jobs in 2021-22

This figure encompasses the economic impacts of UCF alumni in the workforce, plus spending on UCF operations and construction, research and start-up company investments, and spending by students and visitors.

UCF’s Economic Impact 2021-22 - Alumni impact= $6.7 billion. Operations spending impact=$851.8 million. Student spending impact=$253 million. Research spending impact=$238.2 million. Start-up company impact=$34.2 million. Visitor spending impact=$11.4 million. And construction spending impact=$11.1 million.
A pie chart includes seven categories to encompass UCF’s $8.1 billion in total added income for Florida in 2021-22. The biggest category by far is UCF’s alumni impact, accounting for $6.7 billion. Operations spending impact makes up $851.8 million. Student spending impact is $253 million. Research spending impact is $238.2 million. Start-up company impact is $34.2 million. Visitor spending impact is $11.4 million. And construction spending impact is $11.1 million.

Driving Florida’s Economy and Talent Pipeline

UCF offers strong value as a key economic driver producing talented graduates for high-demand jobs in critical industries, fueling the broad-based prosperity of our state.

While UCF creates economic impact in many ways, the most significant contribution stems from the added human capital — the knowledge, creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship — of our alumni.

UCF Alumni Generated $6.7 Billionin added income for Florida’s economy — equivalent to supporting 75,371 jobs — in 2021-22

  • 335,000+ UCF alumni as of 2021-22
  • 80% of UCF alumni stay and work in Florida and 50% of all UCF alumni are in Central Florida

Meeting the Nursing Demand

As Florida faces a critical nursing shortage, we’re stepping up to the challenge. UCF is expanding our nursing programs and providing innovative training solutions to prepare the next generation of healthcare professionals.

Photo of two female nursing students and their female professor interacting with a patient simulation maniken

Around 260 UCF nurses enter the workforce each year and 85% of UCF nurses stay in the state, with 13,600 to date. Plus, with $43 million in state funding and $26 million raised in philanthropic dollars, UCF is building a larger, more technologically advanced nursing education facility: the Dr. Phillips Nursing Pavilion at Lake Nona. After it opens in 2025-26, UCF will produce over 50% more highly skilled nursing graduates annually.

Alumni Impacts in Engineering and Tech

Engineering, science and technology-based fields are among Florida’s top industries employing UCF alumni who are generating the most added income for the state economy. As a result of their UCF education, our alumni receive higher earnings and increase the productivity of the businesses that employ them.

In 2021-22, UCF alumni in Florida generated an impact of:

Photo of a female worker in protective glasses at a desk with various papers, documents and blueprints
$910.7 million

through the professional, scientific and technical services industry, including engineering, computer systems design, research and development services

Photo of a male worker in room with computer servers and IT equipment
$674.3 million

through the information industry, including telecommunications and data processing

Photo of a female worker in a hard hat and safety vest in a manufacturing facility
$672.5 million

through the manufacturing industry, including equipment, electronics, machinery and chemical manufacturing

Our strong academic programs — paired with our longstanding relationships and growing network of powerful industry connections — further fuel Florida’s economy and talent pipeline.

UCF Alumni Power Central Florida’s Top Companies

Kennedy Space Center logo

29% of employees earned UCF degrees

Lockheed Martin logo

25% of Orlando employees earned UCF degrees

Siemens logo

20% of Orlando employees earned UCF degrees


Powering a Tech Talent Machine

The public is taking notice of what researchers and corporations have known for years: Central Florida is one of the most valuable centers of tech research and talent in the nation, and UCF is the academic anchor. As a catalyst for industry growth, UCF is driving innovation and producing workforce-ready graduates to support our region’s robust economy.

Key Collaborations
Across Industries

With a foundation built on industry connections and a focus on workforce development, UCF is a university where there are no boundaries between our campuses and industry. This synergy creates unique opportunities for our people to research, learn and innovate in a way that directly benefits our region and society.

Electronic Arts logo

“[UCF’s Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy] continues to be a major source of talent for our EA development studio in Orlando and an important talent pipeline for Florida’s growing experience economy.”

— Daryl Holt ’01MS ’08PhD, EA Sports vice president

Universal Destinations & Experiences logo

“Universal Parks & Resorts has closely collaborated with UCF for many years, providing learning opportunities for students and faculty. … We are proud to support the next generation of themed entertainment innovators.”

— John Sprouls, Universal Destinations & Experiences chief administrative officer

High Rate of Return
for UCF Students

UCF offers students a strong return on their investment — including unrivaled opportunities for careers in fields from engineering to healthcare to hospitality management — demonstrating the exceptional value of a UCF degree.

As Florida’s premier engineering and technology university, we not only attract exceptional STEM students to stay in Florida, but also bring in highly skilled out-of-state students.

$25,500 Higher
Annual Earnings

(on average) for a person with a UCF’s bachelor’s degree than a person with a high school diploma in Florida

Annual earnings increase as UCF students pursue advanced degrees.

A bar graph compares the average annual earnings for people in Florida with various levels of education. The key point is that there is great value in someone investing in their education at UCF, because UCF bachelor’s degree holders have an average annual salary of $60,400 in Florida. This salary compares to people with less than a high school diploma who earn an average of $27,400. People with a high school diploma earn an average of $34,900. And people with an associate degree earn an average of $42,200. If people invest in pursuing UCF degrees more advanced than a bachelor’s, their average annual salary in Florida continues to rise. People with a UCF master’s degree earn an average of $77,700. People with a doctorate earn an average of $88,800. And people with a professional degree earn an average of $133,800.

Students Receive* Higher Future Earnings Averaging$7.70 for every $1they invest in their UCF education*over the course of students’ working lives

23.4%Rate of Return
(on average) for UCF students’ investment of time and money in their education

A bar graph focuses on the average annual return, which is 23.4%, for UCF students’ investment of time and money in their education, compared to other investment opportunities. The two examples in the chart are a 9.6% return on stocks and bonds (30-year average return) or a 0.4% return on a standard bank savings account.

UCF produces a favorable return, especially compared to other investment opportunities like the 9.6% return on stocks and bonds (30-year average return) or the 0.4% return on a standard bank savings account.

Relocated and Retained UCF Students Generated$253 millionin added income for the Florida economy in 2021-22

Photo of Jenny Lyons, a female UCF industrial engineering graduate

“It was my UCF education — along with many other opportunities provided to me by NASA — that allowed me to pursue a career beyond my wildest dreams.”

Jenny Lyons ’92MS, deputy program manager for KSC’s Launch Services Program

Return Benefits for
Taxpayers and Society

UCF offers taxpayers a strong return on their investment in our university — which is simultaneously an investment in our state’s economy and prosperity.

UCF’s presence expands the state economy and creates a wide range of positive social benefits that accrue to taxpayers and society in general within Florida. This includes added tax revenue stemming from UCF students’ higher lifetime earnings and the increased output of businesses — on top of savings to the public sector due to reduced demand for government-funded social services in the state.

Taxpayers Receive* an Average Return of$2.70 for Every $1of public money invested in UCF
*over the course of students’ working lives

Illustration of a scale tipping downward toward a smaller amount of coins versus a larger amount of coins on the other side

This benefit-cost ratio of 2.7 means UCF is a good public investment because the taxes from UCF students’ higher earnings and reduced government expenditures not only recover taxpayer costs, but also grow the Florida tax base.

Society Receives* an Average Return of$14.70 for Every $1invested in UCF
*over the course of students’ working lives

Illustration of an upward-trending chart with milestones at increasing heights to reach a target goal

This benefit-cost ratio of 14.7 means UCF is a good investment because not only does the productivity of the Florida workforce increase with the addition of skilled UCF alumni, but so does the productivity of its many businesses across a variety of industries.

Research Spending Strengthens Society

Not only does research spending enable UCF innovators to conduct studies and create inventions that improve our world, but it also benefits Florida’s economy. Research activities positively impact the economy by employing people and requiring the purchase of equipment and other supplies and services.

UCF Generated
$238.2 Million
in research funding added to the Florida economy — equivalent to supporting 2,861 jobs — in 2021-22

Various UCF faculty members and students in engineering workplaces, with text: 98 inventions were developed by UCF researchers, in addition to securing 67 patents and 32 licenses in 2021-22

98 inventions were developed by UCF researchers, in addition to securing 67 patents and 32 licenses in 2021-22

Limbitless Solutions co-founder and UCF graduate Albert Manero speaking at a podium outside his office building

UCF start-up companies generated $34.2 million in added income for the Florida economy — equivalent to supporting 198 jobs — in 2021-22


Building Businesses With UCF Innovators

Through a $6 million U.S. National Science Foundation-sponsored project, UCF is working with the Orange County government to turn research and technologies developed at our university into viable businesses by connecting researchers with industry, investors and entrepreneurs. The UCF Venture Lab provides free business-development coaching and support services to our campus as well as local communities.

Together, We’re Creating a Better Tomorrow

UCF’s Economic Impact Study highlights the profound and far-reaching effects our university has on Florida’s economy. As a launchpad for new generations of leaders, doers and creators, UCF not only drives economic growth, but also fosters innovation and entrepreneurship. Our collective efforts at UCF contribute significantly to the success and prosperity of our state and society — ensuring a brighter future for all.

Areas of Focus

Innovation. Partnership. Impact. Our integrated approach to teaching, learning and research unleashes the potential of our faculty and students — empowering them to make a difference in their communities and around the world.

Space Technologies & Systems
Entertainment & Immersive Experiences
Health & Human Performance
Energy & Sustainability
Transformative Technologies & National Security