A newly released report states that the combined economic impact of the University System of Georgia's 35 institutions on their host communities reached $13.2 billion in Fiscal Year 2011, which is 5 percent higher than the $12.6 billion reported for FY 2010.
East Georgia State College's output impact was more than $63 million. Additionally, the college was responsible for the creation of 834 full or part time jobs.
The study areas used in this report as it relates to EGSC are the counties of Emanuel, Candler, Bulloch, Johnson, Jefferson, Toombs, Treutlen, Tattnall and Jenkins.
"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 study author Dr. Jeffrey M. Humphreys, director of the University of Georgia's Selig Center for Economic Growth in the Terry College of Business.
The Selig Center analyzed financial and enrollment data for July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011 to estimate the economic impact that each of Georgia's 35 public colleges and universities make on the economy of the community where it is located. The Selig Center began producing the annual economic impact report in 1999.
Economic impact benefits are based on three important categories of college/university related expenses: spending by the institutions themselves for salaries and fringe benefits, operating supplies and expenses, and other budgeted expense; spending by the students who attend the college; spending by the institutions for capital projects (construction). Each of these categories creates spending which is then multiplied by further spending.
The study shows that between FY 2007 and FY 2011, total spending by all 35 institutions and their students rose by 30 percent, and the number of jobs that owe their existence to that spending rose by 24 percent - from 106,267 jobs to 131,990 jobs.
The FY 2011 study found that Georgia's public university system generated nearly 132,000 jobs, or more than 3 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.
"That job growth is quite impressive given that the state's total employment declined by 7 percent during this period" said Humphreys. "Without exception, each college or university is an economic linchpin of its host community."
One 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 2 off-campus jobs exist because of spending related to the institution. Almost all of the off-campus jobs are in private sector businesses.
"That's really not too surprising," said Humphreys. "After all, the private sector businesses operating in the communities that are home to USG institutions are by far the biggest recipients of institution-related spending. 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."
According to Dr. Robert Boehmer, interim president of East Georgia State College, "EGSC's top priority in the coming year is to contribute to the goals of the Complete College Georgia initiative. That initiative seeks to increase the number of the state's young people earning a college degree by 250,000 by the year 2020.
"Making a significant contribution to this critical statewide initiative while providing a significant economic boost to our service area makes East Georgia State College a vital driving force in the region. We are proud to be given the opportunity to play this key role."
Aside from the economic benefits, East Georgia State provides intangible rewards to the communities in its' service area. The volunteer service hours provided by the faculty, staff, administrators and students to help ensure a better standard of life for the area citizens is commendable.
The full study for all USG institutions can be found at http://www.usg.edu/economic_development/documents/PS-USGImpact2011.pdf .