External Affairs Division

State’s 31 Public Colleges and Universities Have a $14.1 Billion Economic Impact

Atlanta — July 10, 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. In cash, that is a jump of $980 million, from $13.2 billion to a new high of $14.1 billion of direct and indirect spending fueling the regions served by the System’s 31 colleges and universities.

To calculate the economic impact for FY12, the Selig Center for Economic Growth in the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business analyzed data collected between July 1, 2011, and June 30, 2012. The annual study is conducted on behalf of the Board of Regents and the study is conducted by Dr. Jeffrey M. Humphreys, director of the Selig Center.

“We have been analyzing the University System’s economic impact for a number of years and what is clear is the importance of these colleges and universities on local and state economies from just about every variable: direct spending, income, production of goods and services and jobs,” said Humphreys.

The first study in the series calculated the USG’s impact at $7.2 billion in FY1999. The latest $14.1 billion represents a $7.0 billion increase since FY 1999 – or 98 percent growth in the system’s economic impact on Georgia’s communities. That gain far outstrips inflation, which was only 38 percent over this same time period, Humphreys said.

Since the “Great Recession” (Dec. 2007-June 2009), the USG’s institutions really proved their economic worth, with their economic impact rising by $2 billion – from $12.1 billion in FY 2008 to $14.1 billion in FY 2012.

“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.”

“Of course, our studies focus on spending and its economic impact, but do not attempt to measure the value the University System adds in terms of quality of life, the creation of a highly educated workforce to meet the needs of businesses, government and communities, or the overall health of communities,” he said.

The FY 2012 study found that Georgia’s public university system generated nearly 139,263 full- and part-time jobs, or 3.6 percent of all the jobs in Georgia. The bottom line is that one job out of every 28 in the State of Georgia is due to the University System.

Approximately 33 percent of these positions are on campus as USG employees and 67 percent are off-campus positions in either the private or public sectors. Humphreys noted that on average, for each job created on campus, there are two off-campus jobs that exist because of spending related to the institution.

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, or almost 69 percent of the total output impact.

The remaining $4.4 billion (31 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 University System institution or its students, research found that, on average, an additional 45 cents was generated for the local economy.

Looking at the impact of individual institutions, Georgia Tech in Atlanta and UGA had the largest impacts on their regional economies: $2.6 billion and 20,869 jobs at Georgia Tech and $2.2 billion and 22,196 jobs at UGA. Georgia State University in Atlanta had a $1.6 billion economic impact with 13,710 jobs.

The FY 2012 study documented the economic impact of the combined academic and clinical side of Georgia Regents University in Augusta as well as its clinical campuses in Albany, Athens, Savannah, and Rome.

In Augusta, the study recorded a total impact of $1.8 billion and 19,192 jobs, which includes Georgia Regents University (the consolidation of both Augusta State University and Georgia Health Sciences University) and MCG Health, Inc.

The combined economic impact of the clinical campuses totaled almost $25 million.

Georgia Southern University had an economic impact of $524 million and 6,548 jobs in the Statesboro area, while Valdosta State University’s economic impact was $367 million and 4,018 jobs.

Among the System’s state universities, Kennesaw State University had the largest impact – $926 million and 8,788 jobs – in its Cobb County location. The University of West Georgia in Carrollton had the second largest impact – $443 million and 4,263 jobs. Third in economic impact among state universities was the University of North Georgia, at $401 million and 4,343 jobs (as a result of the consolidation of North Georgia College & State University and Gainesville State College).

Clayton State University had the fourth largest economic impact among the System’s state universities, at $256 million and 2,377 jobs. Fifth was Columbus State University, with a $247 million impact and 2,620 jobs.

Among the System’s state colleges, Georgia Perimeter College had the greatest economic impact of $774 million and 7,221 jobs. Second was Georgia Gwinnett College at $296 million and 3,029 jobs.

Third was Middle Georgia State College (the result of the consolidation of Macon State College and Middle Georgia College), with an economic impact of $226 million and 2,579 jobs. Gordon State College was fourth with an economic impact of $141 million and 1,418 jobs, and fifth in this sector was Darton State College at almost $136 million and 1,627 jobs.

The full study with data for all 31 USG institutions is available at:

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