A yearly report from the University System of Georgia (USG) shows the University of North Georgia - with five campuses across the region - made an impact of almost $720 million on Northeast Georgia during the 2020 fiscal year.
The USG study said the impact included $692 million in spending and jobs and an additional $27 million impact attributed to capital construction projects.
Graduates are also seeing benefits, with another study showing a Class of 2020 graduate on average earns an additional $852,162 over the course of their career as a result of a degree from a USG institution.
"These reports show that UNG continues to provide extensive and positive impact for the region and our students, even during the COVID-19 pandemic," UNG President Bonita C. Jacobs said in a media statement released Monday, July 19. "UNG provides access to a high quality, affordable university education for students from northeast Georgia and beyond, and the region benefits through job creation, revenue for businesses and industry, and additional earning potential for our graduates."
Included in UNG's economic impact is nearly $337 million in spending by about 20,000 students, which alone created 2,881 jobs in the area. On average, for every dollar spent by the university, an additional 47 cents is generated for the region.
UNG, which has campuses in Blue Ridge, Cumming, Dahlonega, Gainesville, and Oconee County, also had a regional employment impact of 6,411 jobs in the same period. The employment impact includes on-campus and off-campus jobs. The report noted that on average, for each job created on campus, two off-campus jobs exist because of spending related to the institution.
The study area for UNG was Barrow, Clarke, Dawson, Fannin, Forsyth, Gilmer, Gwinnett, Hall, Jackson, Lumpkin, Madison, Oconee, Union and White counties.
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. The Selig Center also conducted a companion study led by Humphreys and Alexandra P. Hill titled, "Lifetime Earnings for University System of Georgia Class of 2020." The lifetime earnings report showed how work-life earnings increase substantially with each step up in earned degrees.
USG's 2020 graduates who work in Georgia are expected to bring in a combined $175 billion in lifetime earnings, of which $59 billion (34 percent) can be attributed to their degrees.