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UNG contributes $667 million to economy in northeast Georgia
UNG students
University of North Georgia students make their way across the Gainesville campus between classes Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018. - photo by Scott Rogers

The University of North Georgia (UNG) had a more than $667 million economic impact on northeast Georgia during fiscal year 2018, an increase of some $47 million over the previous year, according to new data released Aug. 20. An additional $1.77 million impact is attributed to capital construction projects in fiscal year 2018.

The annual study of the University System of Georgia's (USG) economic impact measures direct and indirect spending that contributes to the university's service region.

"This annual study once again shows the strong impact that UNG has on the economic strength of northeast Georgia," President Bonita Jacobs said. "In addition to increasing educational attainment through access to an affordable, high-quality education, we continue to work with partners in education, industry and the community to facilitate economic development across the region and beyond."

Included in UNG’s economic impact is $260 million in spending by nearly 20,000 students, which alone created 3,898 jobs in the study area. On average, for every dollar spent by the university, an additional 47 cents is generated for the region.

The study area for UNG was Barrow, Clarke, Dawson, Fannin, Forsyth, Gilmer, Gwinnett, Hall, Jackson, Lumpkin, Madison, Oconee, Union, and White counties, communities where UNG campuses are located or contiguous communities. Study areas for each school in the report were defined based on the Residence County to Workplace County Flows for Georgia, 2009-2013 from the U.S. Census Bureau.

UNG, which has campuses in Blue Ridge, Cumming, Dahlonega, Gainesville, and Oconee County, also had a regional employment impact of 7,004 jobs in the same period, an increase of 235 jobs from the previous study. The employment impact includes on-campus positions and off-campus jobs that exist due to the institution.

As a whole, public colleges and universities that comprised the USG in 2018 had an impact of $17.7 billion on the state, an increase of almost 5% over the previous year.

"While we remain focused on graduating more students, keeping college affordable and increasing our efficiency in delivering a quality education, we are proud our colleges and universities help power Georgia’s economy," USG Chancellor Steve Wrigley said. "USG and its 26 institutions play an important role in generating jobs and boosting businesses across the state, befitting the investment Georgia's leaders have made in us."

The study found Georgia's public university system generated more than 168,284 full- and part-time jobs. Approximately 30% are on campus as USG employees and 70% are off-campus positions in the private or public sectors. The report also noted that on average, for each job created on campus, two off-campus jobs exist because of spending related to the institution.

The annual study is conducted on behalf of the USG Board of Regents by Jeffrey M. Humphreys, director of the Selig Center for Economic Growth in the University of Georgia's Terry College of Business. The study reports expenditures and impacts for the 2018 fiscal year – July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018.

The full economic impact report is available on the USG web site.