The study determined the economic impact of the USG’s 35 institutions on their host communities in Fiscal Year 2011 is $13.2 billion, which is five percent higher than the $12.6 billion reported for FY 2010.
Dr. Marc Miller, dean of the James M. Hull College of Business at Augusta State, said the findings by the Selig Center show the University System has a significant, positive economic impact on the state. “More specifically, this study demonstrates the actual, tremendous economic impact that ASU has on the local economy,” he said.
The study shows that between FY 2007 and FY 2011, total spending by all 35 institutions and their students rose by 30 percent. The number of jobs that owe their existence to that spending rose by 24 percent – from 106,267 jobs to 131,990 jobs or more than three percent of all the nonfarm jobs that exist in Georgia. The bottom line is that one job out of every 29 in the State of Georgia is due to the University System. One striking finding is that university – or college-related spending – creates far more jobs off the campus than it does on the campus. On average, for each job that exists on campus two off-campus jobs exist because of spending related to the institution. Almost all of the off-campus jobs are in private sector businesses, according to the study. ASU generates 2,100 jobs in the Augusta region, more than 1,500 being off-campus jobs.
“Initiatives and memoranda of understanding with businesses and companies within the region also generate numerous off campus jobs for ASU students. In many cases, these jobs have led to permanent positions for our students,” said Dr. Miller.
While common wisdom might conclude that increased spending and jobs were the result of institutional actions, the study found just the opposite. Students accounted for the increased spending that generated more jobs off campus. Higher spending by increasing numbers of enrolled students rather than higher spending by the institutions accounted for most of the job growth. The number of on-campus jobs barely increased while the number of off-campus jobs that exist due to institution-related spending rose by 41 percent.
“That’s mostly due to rising demand for higher education even when overall economic conditions deteriorate,” said Jeffrey M. Humphreys, director of the Selig Center.
The remaining $3.7 billion (28 percent) of the output impact was created by respending – the multiplier effect of the dollars that are spent again in the region. For every dollar of initial spending by a USG institution, research found that, on average, an additional 39 cents was generated for the local economy.
Augusta State’s total output impact on the region:
Georgia Tech in Atlanta and UGA had the largest impacts on their regional economies: $2.3 billion and 18,640 jobs at Georgia Tech and $2.1 billion and 20,458 jobs at UGA. Georgia State University in Atlanta had a $1.5 billion economic impact with 13,201 jobs. Georgia Health Sciences University—which will consolidate with ASU in 2013—had an economic benefit on the Augusta region of $853 million. Together, the institutions’ economic impact is $1,041.8 billion and 11,770 jobs.
“Comparisons of the FY 2011 estimates to those for recent years show that our public college and universities really proved their economic worth during tough economic times” said. Humphreys.
“Each of Georgia’s public colleges and universities are strong pillars and drivers of the economies of their host communities. That translates into more jobs, higher incomes, and greater production of goods and services than would otherwise be the case.”
The full study with data for all 35 USG institutions is available at http://www.usg.edu/economic_development/documents/PS-USGImpact2011.pdf. Future studies will incorporate statistics generated by the new institution created by the consolidation of ASU and GHSU.