SGSC Has $65.3 Million Economic Impact On Region
By: Amy Hancock
External Affairs Coordinator
South Georgia State College (SGSC) has long been one of the most important assets within Douglas, Coffee County, and the surrounding communities. The College is a center of instruction, culture and opportunity for its residents. While the primary objective of SGSC is to educate its 2,650 students, the effect of its reach carries a direct benefit for the citizens of the College’s service area.
According to the University System of Georgia (USG), the economic impact of its 31 institutions has substantial value to the communities they serve. Conducted annually by Dr. Jeffrey M. Humphreys of the Selig Center for Economic Growth in the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business, the Economic Impact of University System of Georgia Institutions on their Regional Economies in FY 2015 study highlights the regional impact of each USG institution in addition to the state-wide impact.
According to the latest figures, SGSC’s impact increased by seven percent from $60.9 million to $65.3 million. The annual report on the economic impact of the University System of Georgia on the state reveals a 9.2 percent increase from fiscal year 2014 of $14.2 billion to 2015 of $15.5 billion.
SGSC contributes to economic development in several ways, most notably through preparing its students for higher paying jobs and providing a number of jobs to spur economic growth. In fiscal year 2015, SGSC generated 851 full and part-time jobs in the local economy covering Coffee, Atkinson, Bacon, Jeff Davis, Ware, Telfair, Ben Hill, Irwin, Pierce, Brantley, and Clinch counties. SGSC saw an increase in the number of jobs by almost six percent from 805 in fiscal year 2014. Full and part-time jobs generated by the University System of Georgia in the state totals 150,191.
“These benefits permeate both the private and public sectors of the host communities. For example, for each job created on campus there are 2.1 off-campus jobs that exist because of spending related to the college or university. These economic impacts demonstrate that continued emphasis on colleges and universities as a pillar of the state’s economy translates into jobs, higher incomes, and greater production of goods and services,” the report states. “Each institution’s benefits are estimated for several categories of college and university-related expenditures: spending by the institutions themselves for salaries and fringe benefits, operating supplies and expenses, and other budgeted expenditures; spending by the students who attend the institutions; and spending by the institutions for capital projects.”
While the Selig Center’s report is a thorough and intentional study on its year-to-year economic benefits, it does have limitations on the evaluation of the long-term impact for a community’s economic development. The report also indicates that it does not measure intangible benefits, such as cultural and educational programs and facilities that often are available to the general public and improve the residents’ quality of life. Spending by visitors to the institutions and spending by retirees who still live in the host communities are not factored into the study.
“South Georgia State College serves as an economic engine by developing an educated workforce and by creating jobs for the surrounding area. We take our role in economic development very seriously, and we understand the important position we hold in helping generate commerce for our service area,” says SGSC President Dr. Virginia Carson.
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