Augusta, Ga. – Even during tough economic times, the Augusta area receives a substantial economic benefit from the presence of Augusta State University (ASU), according to a new study released by the University System of Georgia (USG).
ASU’s impact of over $187 million is part of the overall USG economic impact of $12.6 billion in fiscal year 2010, according to a study performed by The Selig Center for Economic Growth, part of the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business.
“This study demonstrates the significant, positive economic impact that the University System of Georgia has on the state,” said ASU President William A. Bloodworth, Jr. “University System institutions, such as Augusta State, are major economic drivers on their local areas. The tangible impact includes jobs and output; however, higher education is vital to everyone. It is especially vital to this community—to its prosperity and progress. “
The Selig Center analyzed data collected between July 1, 2009, and June 30, 2010, to calculate the USG’s economic impact. The report updates similar studies conducted on behalf of the Intellectual Capital Partnership Program, an initiative of the USG Office of Economic Development. The first study in the series calculated the USG’s impact at $7.7 billion in fiscal year 1999; the 2010 economic impact of $12.6 billion marks a nearly $5 billion, or 64 percent, increase.
The study indicates Georgia’s public higher-education system generated 130,738 full- and part-time jobs, accounting for 3.4 percent of all jobs in Georgia in fiscal 2010, or about one job in 30. In the Augusta region, the study found that ASU generates about 2,200 jobs.
“It is often discussed how ASU provides jobs and help stabilize the labor market, but this study demonstrates the actual economic impact that the university has on the local/regional economy,” said Simon Medcalfe, assistant professor of finance in the ASU Hull College of Business. “As Augusta State plans for further expansion, it is proof that the community benefits from its public university. Investing in intellectual capital is a necessary component for economic development and growth.”
That expansion includes ASU housing that will enable enrollment of 1,000 more students by 2015, injecting an extra $24 million into the local economy, according to Medcalfe. “If students spend money in the local economy during the traditional fall and spring semesters, the average annual spending per student amounts to just less than $18,000.”
A major factor affecting the increases in the University System’s economic impact is the growth in the number of students attending public colleges and universities throughout the state.
“Growing Augusta State’s enrollment is not only good for us as a public university; it is good for the economic condition of our region,” said Bloodworth.