BC has positive economic impact on region

Published 10:49 am Friday, December 31, 2010

BC Director of Communications

Blakely, Ga.—The 2nd annual Economics of Education conference that Bainbridge College Early County Center co-sponsored with Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education (GPEE) noted, among many statistics, the positive economic contributions the college and area school systems have on local and regional economies through employee wages and capital projects.

Featured speaker Susan Walker of Atlanta, who is GPEE’s director of policy and research, focused her presentation on public school statistics, discussing a wide range of education-related issues that impact Georgia’s economy, its potential to compete in a global economy, and opportunities area school systems have to enhance student achievement to impact positively the area’s economic achievements.

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The University System of Georgia (USG), which includes Bainbridge College, reported on the various institutions’ impact on their regional economies.

Based on the 2009 fiscal year, the report for USG noted the statewide economic impact of the 35 USG institutions included $12.7 billion in output, $7.6 billion in gross regional product, $5.7 billion in income, and 112,336 full- and part-time jobs, which comprise 2.8 percent of all jobs in Georgia.

These benefits affect the private and the public sectors of the communities where the institutions are located.

For example, for each job created on campus, 1.6 off-campus jobs exist because of spending related to the college or university. Universities and colleges, such as Bainbridge College and the Bainbridge College Early County Center, are essential parts of Georgia’s economy, providing jobs, higher incomes, and greater production of goods and services.

As Walker noted in her presentation, higher educational achievement means higher lifetime earnings, less unemployment, and more ability to contribute by spending in the local community, which increases revenues that support local government and schools.

In addition to the system-wide impact, the local benefits are estimated for several categories of related expenditures: Spending by the institution for salaries and fringe benefits, operating supplies and expenses, and other budgeted expenditures; spending by students who attend the college, and spending by the institutions for capital projects.

The economic impact of Bainbridge College is felt in Baker, Decatur, Early, Grady, Miller, Mitchell and Seminole counties, according to the USG report.

The college’s initial spending of $60,559,575 included $34,542,432 in student spending, generated an output of $70,824,164, and produced 804 jobs.

Of those jobs, 205 are on-campus jobs and 599 are off-campus jobs that exist because of institution-related spending, the report said.

President Tom Wilkerson reported that approximately $20 million passes through the BC Business Office annually, which has an estimated impact of $110,000,000 on the region. These funds include assistance to students from federal and other sources, for example, $9 million in Pell Grants for fiscal year 2009, $15 million in fiscal year 2010, and $5 million-$6 million in Hope funds. These allow students to attend school, buy needed items for their studies, necessities such as groceries, make car and house payments.

The USG report confirmed that in the midst of the severe economic downturn, Georgia’s public university system continues to be one of the state’s major economic engines.

The Selig Center for Economic Growth in the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business analyzed data collected between July 1, 2008, and June 30, 2009, to calculate USG’s economic impact. This work updated similar studies conducted on behalf of The Intellectual Capital Partnership Program (ICAPP), an initiative of the Board of Regents’ Office of Economic Development.

“While our research has consistently shown the important economic contributions public colleges and universities make to communities and the state, this latest study supports the argument that the University System can play an important role in helping Georgia’s economy recovery,” said study author Jeffrey M. Humphreys, director of economic forecasting for the Selig Center.

Humphreys’ report quantifies the economic benefits that the University System of Georgia’s institutions contribute to the communities in which they are located. He determined that $8.4 billion (66 percent) of the $12.7 billion in total economic impact was due to initial spending by USG institutions for salaries and fringe benefits, operating supplies and expenses, and other budgeted expenditures, as well as spending by the students who attended the institutions in fiscal year 2009.

Re-spending, which is the multiplier effect of those dollars as they are spent again in the region, accounted for another $4.3 billion (34 percent). Researchers found that, on average, for every dollar of initial spending in a community by a University System institution, an additional 51 cents was generated for the local economy hosting a college or university.