How much does a region benefit economically from hosting an institution of higher education?
The benefits are estimated for several important categories of college/university-related expenditures including spending by the institutions themselves for salaries and fringe benefits, operating supplies and expenses, and other budgeted expenditures; spending by the students who attend the institutions; and spending by the institutions for capital projects
USG’s impact grew 0.6 percent over fiscal year 2019, though Georgia Southern’s declined approximately 2.3%, and the state system directly and indirectly generated a total of 155,010 jobs. For each job created on campus, there are two off-campus jobs that exist because of spending related to the college or university.
The annual study is conducted on behalf of the Board of Regents by Jeffrey M. Humphreys, Ph.D., director of the Selig Center for Economic Growth in the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business.
According to the report, every dollar spent directly by USG institutions and their students generated an additional 47 cents for the surrounding region’s economy. While $12.7 billion of the $18.6 billion was a result of that direct spending, the remaining $5.9 billion was additional spending within local communities sparked by the presence of a USG institution.
For Georgia Southern, the impacts are big. From the report:
- Initial Spending: $751,370,691
- Output Impact: $961,126,047
- Output refers to the value of total production, including domestic and foreign trade.
- Value-Added Impact: $655,936,397
- Value added includes employee compensation, proprietary income, other property income, and indirect business taxes
- Labor Income Impact: $437,825,227
- Labor income includes both the total payroll costs (including fringe benefits) of workers
- who are paid by employers and payments received by self-employed individuals.
- Total Employment Impact: 9,435
- Employment includes both full-time and part-time jobs
- On-Campus Jobs: 3,375
- Off-Campus Jobs That Exist Due to Institution-Related Spending: 6,060
(The study areas for Georgia Southern include Bulloch, Screven, Candler, Emanuel, Evans, Tattnall, Jenkins, Chatham, Effingham, Bryan, and Liberty counties)
With an uptick in direct spending for FY2020, the report found, “In sum, USG institutions were a vital source of economic stability.”
The Selig Center also conducted a companion study led by Humphreys and Alexandra P. Hill titled, “Lifetime Earnings for University System of Georgia Class of 2020.” The lifetime earnings report showed how work-life earnings increase substantially with each step up in earned degree.
USG’s 2020 graduates who work in Georgia are expected to bring in a combined of $175 billion in lifetime earnings, of which $59 billion (34 percent) can be attributed to their degrees.
“With strong support from the state and significant planning from our campuses, USG’s economic impact on local communities across Georgia held steady despite a challenging year,” Acting Chancellor Teresa MacCartney said. “At the same time, a degree from a USG institution continues to add real value to the lives of our graduates and their families. We remain focused on doing everything in our power to help more Georgians complete college and ensure our state has a well-prepared, highly skilled workforce to grow Georgia’s economy.”