AMERICUS (July 11, 2013)—An annual study of the University System of Georgia’s economic impact on the State records a 7.4 percent increase from fiscal year 2011 to 2012. Georgia Southwestern State University’s impact increased by two percent from $73.5 to $74.8 million. The System and its 31 institutions had a total economic impact of $14.1 billion on the state economy.
“These numbers are always gratifying in that they make it clear that the University is an important part of the local community,” said GSW Kendall Blanchard. “In order for the University to thrive it needs the community’s support. Nothing justifies that support more than the money the institution pumps into the local economy.”
The results come from an annual study conducted by Dr. Jeffrey M. Humphreys of the Selig Center for Economic Growth in the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business. The first study in the series calculated the GSW’s impact at $56.5 million in FY1999. Georgia Southwestern’s impact has increased by $18.3 million - 32 percent - since the first report was calculated.
“Even in the worst economic times in a generation or two, our colleges and universities proved to be strong pillars and drivers of the economies of their host communities,” said Humphreys. “That’s due to rising demand for higher education regardless of the overall economic climate.”
Based on the report, GSW generated 860 full and part-time jobs in the local economy – Sumter, Schley, Macon, Lee, Crisp, Marion, Webster, and Dooly Counties. Capital projects on GSW’s campus during FY2012, namely the Rosalynn Carter Health and Human Sciences Complex, had a local economic impact of $10.1 million, producing 120 jobs. From a larger perspective, 3.6 percent of all jobs – or 139,263 jobs – in Georgia are generated by the University System.
Most of the $14.1 billion economic impact consists of initial spending by USG institutions for salaries and fringe benefits, operating supplies and expenses, and other budgeted expenditures, as well as spending by the students who attended the institutions. Initial spending by USG institutions and students equaled $9.8 billion. The Selig Center analyzed data collected between July 1, 2011, and June 30, 2012, to calculate the University System’s FY2012 economic impact.
The Selig Center’s research has its limitations – it neither quantifies the many long-term benefits that a higher-education institution imparts to its host community’s economic development nor does it measure intangible benefits, such as cultural opportunities, intellectual stimulation and volunteer work, to local residents. Spending by USG retirees who still live in the host communities and by visitors to USG institutions (such as those attending conferences or athletic events) is not measured, nor are additional sources of income for USG employees, such as consulting work, personal business activities and inheritances.
The full study with data for all 31 USG institutions is available at: http://www.usg.edu/economic_development/documents/usg_Impact_fy2012.pdf.
Current and past economic impact studies can be found at: http://www.usg.edu/economic_development/publications/studies.
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