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University System’s Economic Impact on Georgia More Than $15 billion
COLUMBUS, Ga. — A recent study has determined that Columbus State University’s economic impact on its surrounding region is more than $263.5 million annually, part of the University System of Georgia’s (USG) economic impact on the state measured at $15.5 billion in fiscal year 2015. These numbers are according to the most recent study conducted by the Selig Center for Economic Growth in the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business.
The University System’s economic impact grew by $1.3 billion, an increase of 9 percent, from fiscal year 2014 to 2015. Student spending in communities where USG institutions operate was a primary driver in the increase with overall higher student enrollment in the University System creating significant impact.
At Columbus State University, the total economic impact in FY 2014 was about $244 million annually, meaning CSU’s impact grew by about 3 percent this year, roughly equivalent to CSU’s enrollment growth from 2014 to 2015.
Student spending is the largest part of CSU’s “output impact” that determines local economic impact, the report said. Spending by CSU students accounted for more than $126 million in impact. The report also credits CSU with impacting more than 3,042 local jobs, including almost 1,000 on campus and more than 2,000 that exist off-campus because of “institution-related spending.”
The economic impact of the entire system is a measure of direct and indirect spending that contributes to the regions served by the system’s colleges and universities.
Most of the $15.5 billion economic impact consists of initial spending by USG institutions for salaries and fringe benefits, operating expenses and other budgeted expenditures, as well as spending by the students who attended the institutions. Initial spending by USG institutions and students equaled $10.6 billion, or almost 69 percent of the total output impact.
The remaining $4.9 billion (31 percent) of the output impact was created by respending, which is the multiplier effect of 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 46 cents was generated for the local economy.
This information comes on the heels of a 2015 CSU study that shows the economic impact of Columbus State University’s RiverPark campus in downtown Columbus is estimated to be more than $21 million annually.
The analysis was done by professor Ben Blair, the Sarah T. Butler Distinguished University Chair in Business and Finance and director of the Butler Center for Business and Economic Research in CSU’s Turner College of Business. The report was finalized in spring 2015.
Current expenditures by the university on its downtown campus support 227 jobs annually and provide $11.2 million in labor income annually. Combine that with spending by students who live in CSU housing downtown, and the “output” or economic impact of CSU’s RiverPark campus is $21.5 million a year, Blair says.
“The University System is part of the economic engine of the communities we serve,” said Chancellor Hank Huckaby. “We take the responsibility of positively impacting the economy of the state as seriously as we do educating and graduating our students.”
The FY 2015 study found that the University System generated nearly 150,191 full- and part-time jobs. Approximately 32 percent of these positions are on campus as USG employees and 68 percent are off-campus positions in either the private or public sectors.
To calculate the economic impact for FY 2015, the Selig Center for Economic Growth analyzed data collected between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015. The annual study is conducted on behalf of the Board of Regents by Jeffrey M. Humphreys, director of the Selig Center.
The full study with data for all 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.