TIFTON—The annual economic impact of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College on South Georgia increased to $584,544,166 during the 2019 fiscal year, according to a recently released report by the University System of Georgia (USG).
Dr. Renata Elad, Dean of the Stafford School of Business at ABAC, analyzes the USG report each year to determine the impact of the institution on the region. She said ABAC’s impact is up $85,140,494 over the 2018 fiscal year.
“ABAC continues to be economically and academically important to South Georgia,” Elad said. “As a part of the USG, ABAC is an integral part of the region. With ABAC housing at over 91 per cent occupancy during the time of the report, that translates to significant potential business traffic for Tifton and surrounding areas.”
A record ABAC enrollment figure of 4,292 students during the 2018 fall term contributed to the rise in economic impact with a student direct spending figure of $50,556,118. The employment number related to student spending climbed to 1,416 including 954 jobs outside of ABAC and 462 jobs inside the college.
“In the present, ABAC is a part of the lifeblood of the region with initial spending of over $200 million which reflects $112,850,878 for operations, $37 million for capital investment, and $50 million of student spending in the region,” Elad said.
Elad said counties directly impacted by ABAC include Tift, Worth, Cook, Colquitt, Irwin, Ben Hill, Turner, Decatur, Seminole, Miller, Grady, Early, Thomas, Mitchell, and Baker.
The USG recorded a statewide economic impact of $18.5 billion for fiscal year 2019, a 4.5 percent increase from fiscal year 2018. The USG also generated 157,770 jobs. A Class of 2019 USG graduate is predicted to earn $888,563 more over the course of a career because of the degree from a USG institution.
“USG and our 26 institutions play a critically important role in local economies all across Georgia,” USG Chancellor Steve Wrigley said. “At the same time, a college degree has never been more essential to success in the workforce and for our state’s economic future.”
Graduates of the USG in 2019, who will work in Georgia, can expect lifetime earnings of $170 billion, of which $59 billion (35 percent) can be directly attributed to their degrees.
More specifically, higher education credentials increase the work-life earnings of the median Georgia resident by $183,475 (certificate), $415,570 (associate degree), and $1,211,615 (bachelor’s degree). Beyond a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree is worth $211,305 and a professional degree is worth $1,017,155. A Ph.D. increases work-life earnings by $643,385 over a master’s degree.
The annual study is conducted on behalf of the Board of Regents by Jeffrey M. Humphreys, Ph.D., director of the Selig Center for Economic Growth in the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business.