BAINBRIDGE, Ga. -- Bainbridge State College annually makes a positive economic impact on its southwest Georgia service region. That impact was valued at almost $81 million by an annual study for Fiscal Year (FY) 2012, which ran July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2012. The college’s impact included an employment impact of 1,024 full-time and part-time jobs: 259 on-campus and 765 off-campus jobs that exist because of institution-related spending.
The study, conducted by the University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth in the Terry College of Business, noted that the University System of Georgia (USG) as a whole had a 7.4 percent increase in FY2012 output impact on institutions’ host communities compared to FY2011. Bainbridge State’s output impact increased from FY2011’s $77-plus million to FY2012’s almost $81-plus million.
“Each of Georgia’s public colleges and universities are strong pillars and drivers of the economies of their host communities. That translates into more jobs, higher incomes and greater production of goods and services than would otherwise be the case” said study author Dr. Jeffrey M. Humphreys, director of the Selig Center.
The Selig Center analyzed financial and enrollment data for July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2012, to estimate the economic impact that each of Georgia’s 31 public colleges and universities make to the economy of the community where it is located. The Selig Center began producing the annual economic impact report in 1999.
Bainbridge State’s initial spending, including salaries and fringe benefits, operating supplies and expenses, and other budgeted expenditures, was reported at $83,432,133. The impact Bainbridge State has on the region is large relative to the size of the host communities, the report demonstrates.
Initial spending by USG institutions equaled $9.9 billion, or 69 percent of the total economic impact. Combined with spending by students who attended the institutions, the total initial spending accounted for most of the USG’s $14.1 billion in overall economic impact. The remaining $4.4 billion (31 percent) in impact was created by re-spending, which is the multiplier effect of those dollars as they are spent again in the region.
The economic impact estimates are based on regional input-output models of each institution’s regional economy, certain necessary assumptions, and available data on annual spending in the specified categories, the report noted.
These positive impact benefits permeate both private and public sectors of the host communities. For example, for each job created on campus two off-campus jobs exist because of spending related to the institution, the report said. This impact demonstrates that USG institutions are essential to the state’s economy and their existence translates into jobs, higher incomes, and greater production of goods and services.
Universities and colleges, such as Bainbridge State and the Early County Center, are essential parts of Georgia’s economy, providing jobs, higher incomes, and greater production of goods and services. Counties included in the economic impact study for Bainbridge State include Baker, Decatur, Early, Grady, Miller, Mitchell and Seminole counties, according to the USG report.
“I’m pleased that Bainbridge State’s contributions have helped our region during a time of economic downturn. We are entering an exciting phase of growth and look forward to continuing to make a positive impact on the communities we serve, both economically and in providing a quality option for the educational needs of these communities,” President Richard Carvajal stated.
In its summary of the economic benefits each USG institution conveys to the community in which it is located, the study estimated those benefits for several categories of institution-related expenditures: salaries and fringe benefits, operating supplies and expenses, and other budgeted expenditures; spending by the students; and capital projects.
“We have been analyzing the University System’s economic impact for a number of years and what is clear is the importance of these colleges and universities on local and state economies from just about every variable: direct spending, income, production of goods and services and jobs,” said Humphreys.
“Even in the worst economic times in a generation or two, our colleges and universities proved to be strong pillars and drivers of the economies of their host communities,” Humphreys said. “That’s due to rising demand for higher education regardless of the overall economic climate.”
The Selig Center’s research has limitations. It neither quantifies the many long-term benefits that a higher-education institution and its outreach and service units impart to the host community’s economic development nor does it measure intangible benefits to local residents such as cultural opportunities, intellectual stimulation and volunteer work. It also does not measure spending by USG retirees who live in the host communities, spending by visitors to USG institutions, such as those attending conferences or other events, nor does it measure additional sources of income for USG employees, such as consulting work, personal business activities and investments.
The full study with data for all 31 USG institutions is available at: http://www.usg.edu/economic_development/documents/usg_Impact_fy2012.pdf