by Taylor Bryant
The University of West Georgia has a $518 million regional economic impact, according to an annual study released by the University of System of Georgia. The fiscal year 2015 economic impact study measures direct and indirect spending that contributes to the regions served 31 state universities and college.
“For UWG to succeed, we must help our community, region, and state succeed,” said UWG President Dr. Kyle Marrero. “We are committed to driving economic growth in our region and to working with our friends and partners to ensure everyone has the opportunity to share in that prosperity.”
UWG’s regional impact saw a significant 13.8 percent increase from 2014 to 2015. The increase includes UWG’s support of 5,161 full-time and part-time jobs; spending by the institution for salaries and fringe benefits, operating supplies, and expenses, and other budgeted expenditures; spending by the students who attend UWG; and spending by the institution for capital projects we also categories measured in the study.
“Much of that increase is due to improvements in the regional labor market for student-workers and their families, which has also resulted in a steady rise in student enrollment at UWG,” said Dr. Joey Smith, chair of economics for the Richards College of Business at UWG. “The economic impact of UWG can be measured in a variety of ways; however, some impacts are inherently more difficult to value. UWG provides jobs and income across the region and state. Our students, staff, and faculty buy goods and services, which in turn supports a broad spectrum of additional jobs and income within Carroll County, the West Georgia region, and the State of Georgia.”
USG’s comprehensive economic impact on the state was $15.5 billion in fiscal year 2015, according the study. The University System’s economic impact grew $1.3 billion, an increase of nine percent, from fiscal year 2014 to 2015. Student spending in communities where USG institutions operate was a primary driver in the increase with overall higher student enrollment in the University System creating significant impact.
“The University System is part of the economic engine of the communities we serve,” said Chancellor Hank Huckaby in the USG statement. “We take the responsibility of positively impacting the economy of the state as seriously as we do educating and graduating our students.”
UWG continues to be recognized for its service to the region and state. In 2015, realtor.com listed UWG for its commitment to providing shows, sports events, performances, and seminars to the community. In recent years, capital investments that include the Fusion Center and Comprehensive Community Clinic, UWG Newnan, and Tanner Health System School of Nursing have created community partnerships in the community and advanced learning opportunities for students.
“Our degrees add to the lifetime income-generating capacity for our graduates and their families,” said Dr. Smith. “We provide award-winning and nationally recognized programs of study in a very convenient location. UWG not only increases the size of the local economy, but also improves quality of life for residents across the region, which isn't easily captured in an annual study.”
The full economic impact study, conducted by the Selig Center for Economic Growth in the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business, can be found at www.usg.edu/economic_development/publications/studies/year/2016.
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