Author: Stephanie Schupska

Published

Athens, Ga. — The University of Georgia continues to positively influence the Athens-area economy through both funds and employment. For fiscal year 2011, UGA had a total economic impact of $2.1 billion and 20,458 jobs, according to a recent study by the UGA Selig Center for Economic Growth that looked at the impact of all 35 University System of Georgia intuitions.

Of all system institutions, UGA had the greatest employment impact and was second to Georgia Tech in financial impact.

The monetary benefits extend beyond the UGA campus and into the private and public sectors surrounding Athens. According to the report, “for each job created on campus, there are two off-campus jobs that exist because of the spending related.”

“Without exception, each college or university is an economic lynchpin of its host community,” said Jeff Humphreys, director of the Selig Center in the Terry College of Business, in a release issued statewide. “…Each of Georgia’s public colleges and universities are strong pillars and drivers of the economies of their host communities.”

This translates to more jobs, higher incomes and greater production of goods and services, he said.

Overall, UGA spent more than $644.6 million in salaries and $395.1 million in operating expenses in fiscal year 2011, an increase of nearly $40.7 million over 2010’s numbers. Fiscal year 2011 started July 1, 2010, and ended June 30, 2011.

Student spending dropped slightly from 2010 to 2011. In 2011, UGA students spent $444.9 million in and around Athens, $2.1 million less than in 2010.

A newer program on the UGA campus not included in previous Selig Center reports also is affecting the Athens economy. During fiscal year 2011, the Georgia Health Sciences University/UGA Medical Partnership opened with 40 students and had an impact of $13 million and 157 jobs. According to the report, the medical partnership’s impact, while still modest, “will expand substantially in future fiscal years.”

The Selig Center, which started conducting its annual economic impact report in 1999, looked at all 35 institutions housed under the University System of Georgia, taking into account the jobs these universities and colleges provided and the economic boon they gave each of their communities. During the study’s time period, the system employed nearly 132,000 people either part time or full time, slightly more than 3 percent of all nonfarm jobs in Georgia.

Total economic impact for the system was $13.2 billion, 5 percent higher than the $12.6 billion reported in fiscal year 2010.

The full study with data for all 35 USG institutions is available at http://www.usg.edu/economic_development/documents/PS-USGImpact2011.pdf. Current and past economic impact studies can be found at http://www.usg.edu/economic_development/publications/studies.