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Universities contribute $400M to local economy in 2016

  • According to an annual study conducted by the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business, Armstrong State University contributed more than $252 million dollars to the local economy during the fiscal year 2016. (Savannah Morning News file photo) According to an annual study conducted by the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business Armstrong State University contributed more than $252 million dollars to the local economy during the fiscal year 2016. (Savannah Morning News file photo)

Armstrong State University and Savannah State University contributed more than $400 million to the local economy during the fiscal year 2016 and provided nearly 5,000 jobs, according to recent study conducted by the Selig Center for Economic Growth in the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business.

The statewide economic impact of the University System of Georgia’s 28 institutions grew to $16.8 billion — an increase $1.3 billion or eight percent compared to FY 2015. The study contributed the growth to spending by the institution and spending by students.

The system also generated 157,967 full-and part-time jobs, which is about 3.6 percent of all jobs in the state. According to the study, on average for each job created on campus there are 2.2 off-campus jobs that exist because of spending related to the USG.

“The University System is committed to its role in supporting and advancing the economic growth of the State of Georgia,” Chancellor Steve Wrigley said in a USG press release.

“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.”

Local impact

Armstrong State University’s total output impact, which is the overall economic impact generated, was $252,124,574. The FY 16 amount was an increase of $17 million from FY 15, according to a press release distributed by the school on Tuesday.

“This news is encouraging for the Savannah region and the direction of the comprehensive regional university to further benefit the economy,” Armstrong Interim President Jennifer L. Frum, Ph.D said in the release.

“The university is inextricably tied to this region’s future prosperity, and we look forward to many more developments, such as the academic programs and college headquarters announced, that will lead to future economic growth.”

Research for Armstrong State University’s impact stretched across Chatham, Effingham, Bryan, Liberty, and Bulloch counties and found that the school provided 2,673 jobs – 863 on-campus and 1,810 off-campus in the public or private sector with a generated labor income impact of $111,661,464.

The university’s total initial spending, which is a combination of spending for personnel services, operating costs and the spending by the institution’s students was $186,536,405.

Savannah State University, which also included Chatham, Effingham, Bryan, Liberty, and Bulloch counties total output impact was $192,429, 182, which was an increase of about $13 million compared to FY 15.

The college’s total initial spending was $142,832, 200 and the study found that on average for every dollar spent by the university, an additional 52 cents is generated for that institution’s region.

The school provided 1,998 jobs -- 645 on-campus and 1,353 off-campus positions, which contributed $86,215,347 in labor income.

Georgia Southern University, which is about 50 miles away from Savannah and will be consolidating with Armstrong in January, pending accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, showed total economic impact of $719,699, 581. The university’s total initial spending was $569,400,195.

The study area for GSU didn’t include Chatham County, but instead looked at Bulloch, Screven, Candler, Jenkins, Evans, Tattnall, and Emanuel counties.

For FY 2016, the percentage of workers who reside in Chatham was not high enough to include Chatham in Georgia Southern’s regional economy. When the consolidation is finalized, Chatham County will be included, according to a USG official.

Georgia Southern provided 8,641 jobs in FY 2016 – 2,669 on-campus and 5,972 off-campus with a labor income impact of $305,088, 961.

With the upcoming consolidation local economic impact is expected to grow and add to the annual increase of about six percent per year.

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