STATESBORO — Georgia Southern University’s economic impact during fiscal year 2012 topped $846 million, setting a record for one of the state’s growing research universities.
The study, conducted by the university’s Bureau of Business Research and Economic Development, noted that the university’s growth, visitor and student spending and ongoing construction projects continue to fuel the area’s growth and economy.
“In fiscal year 2012, Georgia Southern had its largest economic impact ever on the local economy,” Georgia Southern President Dr. Brooks Keel said. “Georgia Southern is a great example of how a university’s growth can have a direct impact on its community as well as the surrounding region.”
The BBRED report calculated Georgia Southern’s economic impact base on five key areas of university activities: operating expenditures, construction projects, student spending, visitor spending and salaries and payroll. Together, these five areas made up the direct spending values used in this analysis, which this year totaled nearly $504 million.
Activities ranging from the Wildlife Center, Garden of the Coastal Plain and Georgia Southern Museum to athletics, live musical and theatrical performances had their impacts as well. During the 2011 fiscal year, the university attracted more than 163,300 visitors to Bulloch County, with an estimated impact of $47.4 million.
Student enrollment at the institution has also grown. Roughly 9,400 students relocated from North Georgia to attend Georgia Southern in fall 2011. Enrollment has increased every year since 2006, reaching an all-time high of 20,212 in fall 2011. Enrollment for fall 2012, when announced in the coming month, is expected to set yet another record for the growing institution.
The study noted that, as a result of the university’s continued growth, it is supporting a total of 8,386 jobs in the region. One-third of the total jobs linked to the university are attributable to the students and visitors, who together contributed to the creation of 3,308 jobs through their spending in the local economy.