UGA Reports on Economic Impact of Athens Technical College

Press release from the issuing company

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

How much does the area served by Athens Technical College benefit economically from spending that is either directly or indirectly related to the college? 

According to Dr. Jeffrey M. Humphreys, director of the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia's Terry College of Business, it adds up to $46.7 million. 

The economic impact of Athens Technical College on Northeast Georgia is in a new report from Dr. Humphreys that details his analysis of economic data from the Technical College System of Georgia for the 2012 fiscal year. 

The study also found that the college's spending results in 608 public and private sector jobs. Dr. Humphreys reported that statewide, for each job created on a technical college campus, one off-campus job exists because of college-related expenditures. One in every 264 non-farm jobs in Georgia occurs because of spending associated with a technical college. 

"The fundamental finding is that each of the technical colleges in Georgia, including Athens Technical College, creates substantial economic impacts in terms of output, value added, labor income, and employment," Dr. Humphreys said. "These economic impacts demonstrate that continued emphasis on technical colleges as an enduring pillar of the regional economy translates into jobs, higher incomes, and greater production of goods and services for local households and businesses." 

The Technical College System of Georgia commissioned Dr. Humphreys to calculate the importance that spending connected to the state's technical colleges has on the individual institution's service delivery area. Athens Technical College serves the following counties: Clarke, Elbert, Greene, Hart, Madison, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Taliaferro, Walton, and Wilkes. 
Several categories of college expenditures were reviewed for the study, including personnel salaries and fringe benefits, college operations, capital construction projects, and student spending, to name a few. 

The result, put in the context of the taxpayer investment, indicated that the $9.98 million state appropriation for Athens Technical College in 2012 supported the enrollment of 7,072 students, generated $46.7 million in local spending, and helped to sustain 608 college-related jobs. 

"The missions of Athens Technical College and the Technical College System of Georgia can be summed up in two words - economic development," said Dr. Flora W. Tydings, president of the college. "The impact report released by Dr. Humphreys highlights the contributions made by the college and the system to the economic vitality of the region and state." 

Statewide, the $315 million state appropriation to the Technical College System of Georgia in 2012 provided postsecondary education opportunities to almost 153,000 students, contributed $1.2 billion in direct and indirect spending in communities throughout Georgia, and was a factor in almost 15,000 public and private sector jobs. 

"The spending factor alone is a sizeable return on the state's investment in the Technical College System of Georgia, and it would be significantly higher if we were to add the economic value that our graduates create once they leave college and meet employers' needs for a skilled workforce," said Ron Jackson, commissioner of the state system. 
The study did not attempt to measure the value in terms of the increased earnings of TCSG graduates or the colleges' role in helping the state to attract and retain companies with high-skill, good-paying jobs. Nor did it calculate the impact of the system's Quick Start program, a state economic development incentive that provides customized training free of charge to new and expanding businesses. 

"The effect of a community and technical college education on graduates and on the economy is significant," Dr. Tydings said. "A study compiled for the American Association of Community Colleges showed that graduates realize $4.80 more in higher future income for every dollar that invested in their education at a community and technical education. This figure translates to a rate of return of 17.8 percent." 

She added, "This same study pointed out that society as a whole will receive a cumulative value of $25.80 in benefits for every dollar that federal, state, and local taxpayers spend on the nation's community and technical colleges in 2012, and this rate will remain in place for as long as the 2012 graduates remain active in the U.S. workplace."