Economic Impact of University System Reaches $12.7 Billion

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A newly released report states that Georgia’s public university system made a $12.7 billion economic impact on the state’s economy during Fiscal Year 2009, continuing its record of growing contributions to the state’s economic prosperity. The 35 institutions of the University System of Georgia (USG)— including Georgia Tech—accounted for nearly 3 percent of the state’s total jobs during that time.

In addition to presenting a System-wide perspective, the report also quantifies the significant contributions that each of Georgia’s 35 public colleges and universities makes to the economy of the community where it is located.  Georgia Tech accounted for $2.2 billion (17 percent) of the University System’s $12.7 billion total, and 15,870 jobs.

The report is based on data collected between July 1, 2008, and June 30, 2009 and analyzed by the Selig Center for Economic Growth in the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business to calculate the University System’s FY2009 economic impact. This work updates similar studies conducted on behalf of the Intellectual Capital Partnership Program (ICAPP), an initiative of the Board of Regents’ Office of Economic Development. The previous report, based on FY2008 data, placed the USG’s economic impact at $12.1 billion. The most recent $12.7 billion figure is a $5 billion increase over FY 1999, when the first study in the series calculated the USG’s impact at $7.7 billion in FY1999. This represents growth of 65 percent in the System’s economic impact on Georgia’s communities since FY 1999.

Most of the $12.7 billion in total economic impact was due to initial spending by USG institutions for salaries and fringe benefits, operating supplies and expenses, and other budgeted expenditures, as well as spending by students who attended the institutions in FY2009.  (Initial spending by USG institutions equaled $8.4 billion, or 66 percent of the total.)  The remaining $4.3 billion (34 percent) in economic impact was created by re-spending – the multiplier effect of those dollars as they were spent again in the region.   For every dollar of initial spending in a community by a University System institution, researchers found that, on average, an additional 51 cents was generated for the local economy hosting a college or university.

The study found that Georgia’s public higher education system generated 112,336 full- and part-time jobs – 2.8 percent of all jobs in the state in FY2009.  Most of those jobs – 62 percent of them – are off-campus positions in the private or public sectors that exist because of the presence in the community of USG institutions.  The remainder (38 percent) are jobs on campus.



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    Matthew Nagel
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    Fletcher Moore
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