Skip to main content
Skip to main content

Latest Facts and Figures about
Florida State University’s Economic Impact
on Tallahassee and Leon County

Last Updated: September 2016


  • FSU’s campus is comprised of 542 buildings on 1,605 acres.1 The primary Leon County facilities include the downtown Tallahassee main campus; the Seminole Reservation — a recreational facility; the Florida A&M University-Florida State University College of Engineering facility; and the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory and the Division of Research at FSU’s Southwest Campus.
  • FSU is an institution of 41,773 students, including 36,886 Florida residents, supported by about 2,408 regular and OPS faculty, as of the fall 2014 semester. 2,3 The university’s beginning annual operating budget was $1.46 billion for the 2015-16 academic year.4
  • In total, 6,374 people were directly employed by FSU in 2014-15, not including faculty and OPS positions.5
  • The approved appropriated fiscal year 2016 operating budget for the City of Tallahassee totals $706.8 million; this is a one percent increase over the 2015 budget.6 FSU’s operating budget is two times greater than the City of Tallahassee’s operating budget.
  • University operating revenues totaled $613 million for the 2014-15 FY, a 0.4 percent ($2.452) increase over 2013-14 FY, while operating expenses totaled $1.1 billion for the 2014-15 FY, a 1.5 percent increase over 2013-14 FY. This increase from 2013-14 FY to 2014-15 FY is due to a 2.9 percent ($18.6 million) in compensation and employee benefits. Net non-operating revenues totaled $480.7 million, an increase of $37.7 million from the 2013-14 FY.7
  • As of March 10, 2016, FSU maintained a payroll of 12,962 employees and the average bi-weekly payroll was $26,331,489. Approximately 46.6% of these employees were OPS, and the total payroll for fiscal year 2016 (including gross salaries and employer paid benefits and taxes) was $684,618,707.8


  • University faculty and staff contribute to the local economy through their purchasing power and taxes. Using a median rent of $836 per month for 2,408 regular and OPS faculty, faculty and staff contributions were estimated to be $2,013,088 per month or $24,157,056 annually.9
  • It is estimated that the average resident of Leon County, with a population of 286,27210, will pay $1,059 in sales taxes to the county (in 2015). The 2,408 regular faculty are estimated to contribute $2,550,072 in sales taxes to Leon County in 2015.11 The 6,374 staff directly employed by the university will contribute $6,750,066 in sales tax in 2015.
  • FSU previously employed two Nobel Laureates, and currently employs two Pulitzer Prize winners. 14 Guggenheim Fellowship professors currently teach at FSU, while an additional 7 have taught previously.12 Every year since 2000, at least one FSU faculty member has been awarded a Fulbright scholarship. Five FSU faculty members have been endowed as Fulbright Scholars for the 2016-17 school year, and seven FSU faculty members were awarded in 2015- 16.13
  • There are 38,150 FSU alumni who live and own businesses in Leon County and continue to be a part of its economic health. This concentration of FSU alumni is higher than anywhere else in the state of Florida.14 There are a total of 326,824 living FSU alumni.15


  • Total Research & Development (R&D) Expenditures were $256,449,000 for FY2014-15.16
  • The total amount of Sponsored Research Contract and Grants (C&G) awards received during FY2014-15 were $200,828,459.17
  • Since July 1st, 2005, the FSU Research Foundation has allocated up to $250,000 annually under the Grant Assistance Program (GAP), a funding mechanism to help FSU research transfer their work from the laboratory into the commercial market.18
  • Under the Eppes program, funded by the FSU Research Foundation, specified professors are endowed with a stipend of an extra $40,000 annually with which to conduct research.19


  • FSU students spend substantially in the area. Students spend money on tuition, books, school supplies, housing, food, transportation, clothing, and entertainment. These expenditures vary by the residency status and degree level of each student. Student spending by Florida State University students, both in funds spent in the area and in funds spent at the university, totaled $876.1 million in fiscal year 2015-16.20
  • The 41,773 students at FSU are estimated to contribute $44,237,607 in sales taxes to Leon County in 2015. This accounts for about 18 percent of total predicted sales tax revenue to Leon County in 2015.21

Capital Expenditures

  • FSU currently has $519,818,663 dedicated to major projects. $381,818,663 is dedicated to projects underway, and the remaining $138,000,000 is slated for projects currently in programming stage. The university has also allocated $48,735,819 in funding for minor projects.22 FSU has an additional $409,450,000 in construction spending planned through the year 2020.23
  • FSU receives funding for capital expansion projects through the state of Florida’s Public Education Capital Outlay (PECO) program. In fiscal year 2014-15, FSU received $28,380,022 in PECO appropriations. An additional $10 million was awarded to the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering.24
  • The campus utility bill to the City of Tallahassee was $19,324,950 at the end of fiscal year 2015-16, approximately 7.1 percent of the City of Tallahassee’s total electric utility revenues.25
  • FSU is the top user of electricity, followed closely by the State of Florida, which uses 4.21 percent of electricity in Tallahassee.26 In 2015, the university used more electricity than Florida A&M University (1.76 percent), the Leon County government (0.97 percent), Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare (1.53 percent), Wal-Mart (0.89 percent), Publix Markets (0.79 percent), and the Federal Government (0.90 percent) combined.

Visitors to FSU

  • In 2007, almost 630,000 people visited Leon County for reasons related to FSU—from prospective students and their families to the world’s most eminent scientists and artists. Altogether, they spent over $200 million on shopping, restaurants, entertainment, groceries, lodging, transportation, sports activities and events, arts and cultural activities, and other attractions.27 In 2014, the average visitor to Tallahassee spent $331 per day and $895 during their entire trip.28
  • Football game weekends bring in a significant amount of tourism to Leon County. During the 2014 football season, out-of-town attendees brought $48.1 million in direct spending during the seven home games.29
  • Visitors also booked 74,427 nights and spent $10,125,000 on lodging. In total, 2014 FSU football home games resulted in $94.2 million of economic impact on Leon County.30 Typical out-of-town attendees to football games spent $459 per day and $1,193 per trip.31
  • FSU hosts over 600 events each year between six fine arts venues.32
  • In 2015, FSU’s 85+ Opening Nights Performances attracted over 35,000 attendees.

Athletics and Camps

  • The FSU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics has a proposed budget of $86.3 million for fiscal year 2015-16, a 0.7 percent decrease from the approved budget of $86.9 million for the 2014-15 fiscal year.33
  • As of spring 2014, the Athletics Department maintained a payroll of 362 employees.34 During football season, FSU adds hundreds of additional part-time opportunities, in addition to approximately 1,000 people who volunteer for different service organizations.35
  • In 2016, 2,500 middle and high school students attended FSU Football Camp, 170 high school students attended Seminole Trails Cross Country camp, 400-500 middle and high schoolers attended Indoor Volleyball camp, 200-300 students attended Flying High Circus Camp, 500 girls attended Seminole Girls Basketball camp, 75 middle and high schoolers attended Seminole Golf camp, and 500 school students of all ages attended Soccer Summer Day Academy.36
  • There are over 20 academic and civics camps in session through the university every year. Every year, thousands of school students attend one of many FSU academic and civic camps. In 2016, 1,500 of these students attended Challenger Learning Center of Tallahassee, 48 attended Saturday-at-the-Sea, and 40 attended Young Scholars.37
  • Every year, FSU Summer Workshop for Young Dancers recruits 45-55 middle and high school students from across the nation.38
  • There are 14 different music camps offered every summer at FSU. In 2016, FSU Music Camps’ total enrollment was 1,371 students. Students gave 32 performances. 27 states other than Florida were represented, though the majority of students were from Florida.39 The music camps employed over 170 individuals in 400 teaching, counseling, and administrative positions.40

FSU Foundation & Volunteer Work

  • Total expenses of the FSU Foundation increased 10 percent from 2014 to 2015 due to increased support for the university.41
  • At the end of fiscal year 2015-16, the FSU Foundation allocated $64,077,288 in gift commitments to the university. $8,751,837 of these donations supported property, $2,703,160 supported public service, $2,160,698 supported faculty and staff, $471,431 supported research, $14,923,010 supported student financial aid, $170,138 in negligible expenses, and $19,243,300 supported academic divisions. The remaining $15,653,714 consisted of both restricted and unrestricted gift funds.42
  • FSU was awarded $100 million in December 2015 from the Jim Moran Foundation to create the FSU Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship.43
  • For the 2015 calendar year, 7,019 FSU students reported a total of 368,987 hours of volunteer work through the FSU ServScript program.44 Assuming those students had been paid $8.05 per hour45 to perform their volunteer work, it saved local businesses, government, and nonprofit organizations an estimated $3 million in salaries.
  • Faculty and staff volunteers at FSU also contribute their time, skills and funds to countless volunteer and community outreach efforts.

Economic Impact

  • In the fiscal year 2014-15, FSU generated $6.01 billion of direct revenue or expense, with $9.94 billion worth of industry output (revenue/sales), and 94,160 jobs.46
  • Revenue generated by FSU created an additional $3.82 billion of labor income, $1.78 billion of property income, and $501.8 million in business taxes.47
  • The estimated economic contributions of present value of lifetime earnings differential of FSU graduates remaining in Florida, created an industry output of $7.87 billion with an additional $2.7 billion in labor income, and 59,989 jobs.48

Compiled by the FSU Center for Economic Forecasting and Analysis

  1. Florida State University 2014-15Annual Financial Report
  2. Florida State University Office of Institutional Research, Fall 2014
  3. Economic Contributions of the State University System of Florida in 2014-15, see:
  4. Tallahassee Democrat, June 27 2015
  5. SUS Board of Governors 2015
  6. City of Tallahassee Fiscal Year 2016 Approved Operating Budget
  7. Controller’s Florida State University Annual Report 2014-15
  8. Beverly J. Miller, Associate Controller, Payroll Services, Florida State University, personal communication
  9. See: 2016
  10. US Census Bureau. See: It should be noted that the Leon County population over 18 years (or 81 percent: 231,880) is included in this estimate. Sales tax includes: Communications services tax gross sales, taxable sales and sales and use tax.
  11. Annual Budget, Five-Year Financial Plan, and Capital Improvement Program for 2016
  12. Florida State University Faculty Honors and Awards
  13. FSU Office of Faculty Recognition
  14. Institutional Research Fact Book 2014-15 “Residence of Alumni by Florida County”
  15. Richard Burnette III, Institutional Data Administrator, Florida State University, personal communication
  16. Olivia Pope, Associate VP for Research, Florida State University, personal communication. R&D Expenditures does not include instruction or other activities but includes both externally funded and institutional funds.
  17. Olivia Pope, Associate VP for Research, Florida State University, personal communication. C&G awards includes awards that are run through Sponsored Research Administration and the FSU Research Foundation.
  18. FSU Research Foundation Office of Commercialization
  19. FSU Research Foundation Grant Programs
  20. Economic Contributions of the State University System of Florida 2014-15, see:
  21. Leon County Board of Commissioners FY2015-16 Annual Budget, 5 Year Financial Plan, and Capital Improvement Program estimates are 14.8 percent of total sales tax. FSU CEFA estimates 18 percent of sales taxes collected are from FSU students.
  22. Florida State University Facilities Design and Construction 2016
  23. Lawrence Rubin, Director of Design and Construction, Florida State University Facilities, personal communication
  24. David Coburn, Florida State University, personal communication
  25. City of Tallahassee (COT) Annual Report to Bondholders February 2016
  26. City of Tallahassee (COT) Annual Report to Bondholders February 2016
  27. FSU-related visitor expenditures based on 2004 visitor’s spending data for FSU with estimated percentage reduction provided by Dr. Mark Bonn, and calculations performed by FSU CEFA
  28. Lee Daniel, Director of the Leon County Tourism Development Council, personal communication
  29. Kerr and Downs Research, Florida State Football: Estimated Economic Impact on Leon County
  30. Kerr and Downs Research, Florida State Football: Estimated Economic Impact on Leon County
  31. Kerr and Downs Research, Florida State Football: Estimated Economic Impact on Leon County
  32. FSU Impact Points and Data 2016
  33. Florida State University Beginning Annual Operating Budgets
  34. Beverly J. Miller, Associate Controller, Payroll Services, Florida State University, personal communication
  35. The Orlando Sentinel and Michelle Pohto, Athletics Administration, personal communication
  36. FSU Office of Institutional Research 2016
  37. FSU Office of Institutional Research 2016
  38. FSU Office of Institutional Research 2016
  39. FSU Impact Points and Data 2016
  40. FSU Impact Points and Data 2016
  41. FSU Foundation 2015 Annual Report
  42. Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2015 of the Florida State University Foundation
  43. See:
  44. FSU Center for Leadership and Social Change, personal communication
  45. Florida Department of Economic Opportunity January 1, 2015 Minimum Wage Poster
  46. Economic impacts based on: FSU operations, capital outlay, sales & services of component units, student spending, and 30 year lifetime earnings differential. In: Economic Contributions of the State University System of Florida in 2014-15, see:
  47. Economic Contributions of the State University System of Florida in 2014-15, see:
  48. Economic Contributions of the State University System of Florida in 2014-15, see: