• 64°

Study: BC contributes $71M to local economy

By MARCIA McRAE

BC Communications Director

Bainbridge College annually makes a positive economic impact on its southwest Georgia (SOWEGA) service region. That impact was valued at more than $71,150,000 by an annual study for Fiscal Year (FY) 2010, which ran from July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2010. The college’s impact included an employment impact of 987 full-time and part-time jobs: 219 on-campus and 768 off-campus jobs that exist because of institution-related spending.

The study by Selig Center for Economic Growth in the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business lists $0 for Bainbridge College (BC) capital projects, since BC has received no state funds for major construction since the Charles H. Kirbo Regional Center was completed. So the study lacks the positive economic effect of BC’s alternatively-funded major construction of its $20 million, 78,000-square-foot Student Wellness Center that BC students voted to fund through a student fee.

The report noted that the University System of Georgia (USG) as a whole had an essentially flat FY2010 output impact on institutions’ regional economies compared to FY 2009. Yet BC’s output impact increased from FY 2009’s $70,824,164 to FY 2010’s $71-plus million.

BC’s initial spending, including salaries and fringe benefits, operating supplies and expenses, and other budgeted expenditures, was reported at $77,212,025.

Initial spending by USG institutions equaled $9.1 billion, or 72 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 $12.6 billion in overall economic impact. The remaining $3.5 billion (28 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, 1.9 off-campus jobs exist because of spending related to the college or university, 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.

The overall positive economic impact by USG as a whole and BC in particular was a focal point of the Second Annual Economics of Education Conference that BC’s Early County Center co-sponsored with the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education,  during the last fall semester.

The conference keynoter discussed the positive economic contribution that BC has on its service area and the value that higher educational achievement brings through higher lifetime earnings, less unemployment, and more ability to contribute by spending in the local community, which increases revenues that support local governments and schools.

Universities and colleges, such as Bainbridge College and the BC Early County Center, are essential parts of Georgia’s economy, providing jobs, higher incomes, and greater production of goods and services. BC’s economic impact is felt in Baker, Decatur, Early, Grady, Miller, Mitchell, and Seminole counties, the USG report noted.

These benefits were addressed by Dr. Jeffrey M. Humphreys, director of economic forecasting for the Selig Center and author of the study.

“Colleges and universities are key drivers in economic development,” he said. “Higher education institutions educate the workforce, innovate through basic and applied research, and collaborate with employers to help them become more competitive.”

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.

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 inheritances.

Note: The Selig Center’s FY2010 report is available online at http://www.icapp.org/pubs/usg_impact_fy2010.pdf.