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University System of Georgia has $15.5 billion impact  

AMERICUS (May 11, 2016)-– An annual report on the economic impact of the University System of Georgia on the state reveals a 9.2 percent increase from fiscal year 2014 to 2015. Georgia Southwestern State University’s (GSW) impact increased by five percent from $76.5 million to $80.4 million.

“This study demonstrates the impact Georgia Southwestern State University has on our communities and the economic vitality that a state university provides for the regional economy,” said GSW Interim President Charles Patterson. “Enrollment at Georgia Southwestern State University has grown sharply since the fall of 2014, and additional growth is expected in the coming year, bringing additional opportunities for on and off-campus employment and business creation. Universities should be a driver for economic development and we are fulfilling this mission at Georgia Southwestern.”

Conducted annually by Dr. Jeffrey M. Humphreys of the Selig Center for Economic Growth in the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business, the study highlights the regional impact of each USG institution in addition to the state-wide impact. The first study in the series during fiscal year 1999 calculated GSW’s impact at $56.5 million. Since the release of the first report, Georgia Southwestern has increased its impact by $23.9 million or 42.3 percent.

In FY2015, GSW generated 977 full and part-time jobs in the local economy spanning Sumter, Schley, Macon, Lee, Crisp, Marion, Webster, and Dooly County. Georgia Southwestern increased the number of jobs by three percent from 947 in fiscal year 2014. The University System of Georgia generates 150,191 full and part-time jobs in the state.

“Each of the University System of Georgia’s institutions creates substantial economic impacts in terms of output, value added, labor income, and employment,” the report states. “These economic impacts demonstrate that continued emphasis on higher education as an enduring pillar of the regional economy translates into jobs, higher incomes, and greater production of goods and services for local households and businesses.”

Most of the $15.5 billion impact on the state consists of spending by the USG institutions for salaries and fringe benefits, operating supplies and expenses, and other budgeted expenditures as well as spending by the students who attend the institutions and spending by the institutions for capital projects. Of the 2015 fiscal year total, $10.6 billion or 69 percent, is initial spending by the students and institutions. The study reflects data collected by the Selig Center from July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015.

The Selig Center’s report does have some limitations in its reporting. They do not quantify 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 29 USG institutions is available at: http://www.usg.edu/assets/economic_development/documents/USG_Impact_20152.pdf

Current and past economic impact studies can be found at: http://www.usg.edu/economic_development/publications/studies

- GSW -

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