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GSU’s economic impact: $719 million

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Posted: August 20, 2007 6:07 p.m.
Updated: September 4, 2007 5:00 a.m.
    Georgia Southern University had an economic impact of more than $719 million on the region during the recently completed fiscal year.

            According to a study released Monday by Georgia Southern’s Bureau of Business Research and Development (BBRED), the university pumped $719,233,212 into the economies of nine Southeast Georgia counties in 2006-2007.

            In addition, the report revealed that Georgia Southern was responsible for more than 10,300 jobs in the region, which includes the counties of Bulloch, Bryan, Candler, Chatham, Effingham, Emanuel, Evans, Jenkins and Screven.

            “As the study demonstrates, the University continues to have a significant positive impact on the economy of the region,” BBRED Director Phyllis Isley said. “This impact extends well beyond Statesboro and Bulloch County to a number of other counties that are

interlinked economically to Georgia Southern.

            “These interlinked counties have businesses that supply goods and services to the university, and to the residences of faculty and staff who commute to and from other counties.”

            The new study showed the University’s economic impact on the region increased by more than 9 percent from the previous fiscal year. Georgia Southern pumped $653,440,929 into the region’s economy in 2005-2006, according to the BBRED report issued in August 2006.

            In compiling the annual report, Isley and her staff divided their analysis into four areas:

        The impact from the daily operations of the university as measured by operating expenditures

        The impact from faculty and staff expenditures as measured by salaries and payroll

        The impact from expenditures by students

        The impact from major construction projects

            During the 2006-2007 fiscal year, Georgia Southern spent more than $124.5 million on non-personnel operating expenses. These expenses include everything from printing and publications to electricity, gasoline, tractors and office furniture.

            On the other hand, salaries for faculty, staff and support services as well as payments to consultants, casual labor and other part-time employees totaled almost $96.5 million.

            At the same time, the 16,425 students who were enrolled at Georgia Southern during the last fiscal year spent an estimated $150.1 million. That figure does not include fees for on-campus housing and tuition, but it does include $45.1 million for off-campus housing, $36.2 million for entertainment and $27.3 million for food.

            Meanwhile, the University spent $101 million on major construction projects, such as the expansion of the Recreation Activity Center, the ongoing expansion and renovation of the Zach S. Henderson Library, and the construction of the brand-new Center for Art and Theatre.

            When you combine operating expenditures, salaries, student expenditures and major construction projects, and then adjust the sum for 2007 dollars, the university was directly responsible for expenditures of $477,030,642 in the region.

            “However, it must be noted that Georgia Southern’s impact goes far beyond direct spending by the university and the spending of students and faculty,” Isley said. “For example, budget expenditures translate into the demand for goods and services for other businesses. In turn, these businesses hire additional staff and order additional supplies to meet the demands of the university.”

            To compensate for these additional expenditures, a multiplier of 1.51 is used to more accurately measure Georgia Southern’s economic impact. In other words, for every dollar directly spent by the university, the re-spending of that dollar in the region adds an extra 51 cents to the total economy.

            Thus, the direct expenditures of a little more than $477 million resulted in a total economic impact of over $719 million.

            The study also showed that Georgia Southern was directly responsible for 7,614 jobs during the last fiscal year. Full-time employees at the University accounted for 1,781 of those jobs.

            Non-personnel operating expenses created 3,487 jobs, and expenditures of households receiving salaries of other payroll from the university created 698 jobs. Also, spending by students created 2,824 jobs, and construction expenditures created 606 jobs.

            “It doesn’t stop there,” Isley said. “For every 100 jobs directly created by Georgia Southern, the secondary spending associated with those jobs created another 36 jobs in the region.”

            Using the 1.36 multiplier, the final tally shows that, directly and indirectly, the university was responsible for 10,382 jobs in 2006-2007.

            Georgia Southern’s future economic impact on the region is promising as well. The university anticipates a record enrollment of more than 17,000 students for the Fall 2007 semester, which began on Aug. 13. This follows a Summer 2007 semester in which the university had 8,830 students for the highest summer enrollment in school history.

            “The news on enrollment growth just keeps getting better,” Isley said. “Area merchants and businesses may have already noticed that economic activity over the summer was better than in recent years.”

            According to previous studies, Georgia Southern’s economic impact on the region was $549,249,613 in 2004-2005, and $493,269,907 in 2003-2004.

            Isley noted that the figures contained in the annual economic impact studies are conservative because they do not include additional categories of economic impact, such as spending by former employees of Georgia Southern, or consulting by university employees and the corollary spending that results from such income.

            In addition, the economic impact figures do not reflect the growing number of research dollars that flow through Georgia Southern, or the spending by visitors to the university campus. These visitors include people who attend activities such as athletic events, conferences, meetings and alumni reunions.

            Finally, the economic impact figures do not measure any of the long-term benefits of Georgia Southern to the region’s economic development and quality of life, or the increased lifetime earnings of the university’s graduates.
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