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College a major contributor to the local economy
Posted 05/16/2016 02:00PM

By Lindsey Akinson, The Brunswick News

No matter the name or type of degrees being offered, College of Coastal Georgia has always had a major impact on Glynn County. But, since it transitioned to a four-year institution six years ago, it's done even more, generating $86.2 million for the area.

The figure was released as part of an economic impact study by the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia's Terry College of Business. The goal of the research was to determine how university system affiliates factored into the overall economic picture in their respective communities. And, Coastal's economic contributions have been significant.

For Glynn County, the study showed that, in addition to the $82 million, the local college was also responsible for more than 982 jobs in the area.

While the statistics were certainly positive, Skip Mounts, professor of economics and dean of the school of business and public management at the college, says the paper can't fully calculate the impact the college has on the area.

"This report confirms that the college is a significant driver of economic development and change in the Golden Isles and beyond. Yet, this report does not do justice to the depth of the College's role in the local community," he said.

Mounts adds that the college's ability to bring in new consumers and their dollars is another key element.

"As our programs develop and expand and our campus resources continue to grow, a larger portion of the student body is now coming from outside of the region. This importation of dollars truly creates a multiplier process in jobs and opportunities that do not occur if we only served our five-county service region," he said.

Mounts' colleague, Don Mathews, agrees. The professor of economics and director of the Reg Murphy Center for Economic and Policy Studies says the college is invaluable to the economic health of Glynn County. The same, he says, is true for Georgia's university system as a whole.

"Right here in Glynn County, the college offers the opportunity for many in our region who would not otherwise have that opportunity, to obtain college degree. Additionally, attracting students to the college from across the state and beyond allows the local and regional economies to become much more diversified," Mathews said.

Like Glynn County, the university system has a huge impact on the state as a whole. According to the study, the University System of Georgia's economic impact, statewide, was $15.5 billion in 2015. That was a gain of $1.3 billion or an increase of 9 percent, from fiscal year 2014 to 2015. The study further showed that higher student enrollment across the board resulted in more spending, serving as the primary driver in the increase.

In addition, Georgia's university system generated more than 150,000 full- and part-time jobs. In fact, one out of every 28 jobs in the state are directly connected to the university system. The report notes that 32 percent or 48,785 of these positions are on-campus jobs, with 68 percent or 101,406 jobs are off-campus positions in either in the private or public sectors. On average, for each job created there are 2.1 off-campus jobs that exist due to spending related to the University System of Georgia.

Photo : Dr. Don Mathews

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