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GSUs economic impact tops $846M
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STATESBORO — Georgia Southern University’s economic impact during fiscal year 2012 topped $846 million, setting a new record for one of the state’s growing research universities.

The study, conducted by GSU’s Bureau of Business Research and Economic Development (BBRED), noted that the university’s growth, visitor and student spending and ongoing construction projects continue to fuel the area’s growth and economy.

“In fiscal year 2012, Georgia Southern had its largest economic impact ever on the local economy,” said GSU President Brooks Keel. “Georgia Southern is a great example of how a university’s growth can have a direct impact on its community as well as the surrounding region.”

The BBRED report calculated Georgia Southern’s economic impact base on five key areas of university activities:  operating expenditures, construction projects, student spending, visitor spending and salaries and payroll. Together, these five areas made up the direct spending values used in the analysis, which this year totaled nearly $504 million.

The report emphasizes Georgia Southern’s role as a cultural center within the region, with activities ranging from unique outreach centers including the Wildlife Center, Garden of the Coastal Plain and Georgia Southern Museum to intercollegiate athletics and live musical and theatrical performances. During the 2011 fiscal year, the university attracted more than 163,300 visitors to Bulloch County, with an estimated impact of $47.4 million.

As the university’s reputation continues to grow and expand, student enrollment at the institution has also grown. Roughly 9,400 students relocated from northern Georgia (Atlanta area) to attend Georgia Southern in fall 2011. Enrollment has increased every year since 2006, reaching an all-time high of 20,212 in fall 2011. Enrollment for fall 2012, when announced in the coming month, is expected to set yet another record.

“This year saw the combination of Georgia Southern’s engineering programs with its computer science and information technology programs, resulting in the formation of the Allen E. Paulson College of Engineering and Information Technology. This new college has created an educational environment unlike any other in the region,” said Keel. “Industry locates where there is an educated, skilled workforce available … bringing jobs and more opportunity for economic growth.”

The study noted that, as a result of the university’s continued growth, it is supporting a total of 8,386 jobs in the region. One-third of the total jobs linked to Georgia Southern are attributable to the students and visitors, who together contributed to the creation of 3,308 jobs through their spending in the local economy.

“Universities interact with their communities as both economic and cultural centers. The economic contributions can be clearly documented in a direct way by examining the impacts of the direct spending of the institution, its employees, the students and the visitors,” said Dominique Halaby, director of BBRED.

In July, the University System of Georgia released its annual economic impact results that stated Georgia Southern’s economic impact was approximately $512 million.

“The new study is a more comprehensive look at the university’s true impact, and includes visitor spending as well as a three-year rolling average of construction projects, two things the University System report did not include,” said Charles Patterson, vice president for research and economic development at Georgia Southern. “Regardless of which study you look at, one thing is clear — Georgia Southern is having a major impact on this region of the state.”

Georgia Southern University Economic Impact: Did You Know?
• Georgia Southern students spent more than $142 million in the local economy.
• For every $1 spent by Georgia Southern, its students and its visitors, the secondary spending associated with that output created an additional $0.69 of economic impact, for a total impact of $1.69. This is referred to as the multiplier effect which represents the number of times this money circulates in the economy (e.g. 1.69 times).
• The university attracted more than 163,300 visitors to Bulloch County, with an estimated $47.4 million impact.
• The direct expenditures of Georgia Southern, its students and visitors contributed more than $283 million to the Gross Regional Product (GRP), which had a total impact of almost $487 million on the regional economy.
• Labor income related to Georgia Southern totaled $308 million.
• In total, 8,386 local jobs are linked to Georgia Southern. One-third of the total jobs linked to the university are attributable to the students and visitors, who together contributed to the creation of 3,308 jobs through their spending in the local economy.