Columbus State’s Annual Economic Impact Measured at $295 Million

University System of Georgia’s Economic Impact on Georgia Totals $16.8 billion

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University’s economic impact on its surrounding region is more than $295 million annually, says a recently released analysis.

The figures come as part of a larger study that computed the University System of Georgia’s (USG) economic impact on the state at almost $17 billion in fiscal year 2016. 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 $1.3 billion, an increase of 8 percent, from fiscal year 2015 to 2016. The increase is attributed to “spending by the institution and spending by the students who attend that particular college or university.” On average, for every dollar spent by the university, an additional 52 cents is generated for that institution’s region.

The economic impact of the USG is a measure of direct and indirect spending that contributes to the regions served by the System’s colleges and universities.

For Columbus State University, the study reported CSU spent about $112 million in 2016 on personnel and operating expenses. Student spending reached almost $113 million. When factoring that direct spending into impact and indirect spending, the study said CSU had an “employment impact” of 3,220 jobs last year and economic impact of $295,029,169.

The fiscal year 2015 economic impact for Columbus State University was measured at $263.5 million.

“This is a tangible, real, economic indicator of Columbus State University’s growth and influence on this region,” said CSU President Chris Markwood. “It is impossible to measure how much of an impact our partners, alumni and supporters have on CSU; it’s nice to point to this figure to show a return on their investment.”

The overall economic impact would include the economic impact of Columbus State University’s RiverPark campus on downtown Columbus, which is estimated to be more than $21 million annually, Markwood said.

That 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.

For the 2016 University System of Georgia study, the Selig Center for Economic Growth in the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business analyzed data collected between July 1, 2015, and June 30, 2016. The annual study is conducted on behalf of the Board of Regents by Jeffrey M. Humphreys, Ph.D., director of the Selig Center.

“The University System is committed to its role in supporting and advancing the economic growth of the State of Georgia,” said Chancellor Steve Wrigley. “These numbers reflect the hard work and support of Georgians across the state, and we hope to continue to drive innovation, workforce development and job creation for years to come.”

Most of the $16.8 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 approximately $11 billion, or almost 66 percent of the total economic impact. The remaining $5.8 billion (34 percent) of the economic impact was created by respending, which is the multiplier effect of the dollars that are spent again in the region.

The FY16 study found that the University System generated nearly 157,967 full- and part-time jobs – 3.6 percent of all jobs in Georgia. 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.

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