ABAC economic impact on south Georgia surpasses $429 million

·2 min read

Aug. 4—TIFTON — With a strong bounce-back over the pandemic year, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College had an economic impact of $429,357,879 on south Georgia during the 2020-21 fiscal year.

Renata Elad, dean of the Stafford School of Business at ABAC, said the college forged ahead from an economic impact of $390,015,778 during the 2020 fiscal year.

"ABAC's numbers show that we are edging closer to pre-pandemic levels," Elad, who analyzed the data from the University System of Georgia (USG) report, which showed that the USG contributed a total of $19.3 billion to Georgia's economy between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021, said. "ABAC continues to be a steady engine for social and economic development in the region.

"Driven by initial student spending of $42,062,490.80 as well as spending on personnel services and capital outlay, ABAC continues to thrive."

USG Chancellor Sonny Perdue applauded the effort of all 26 colleges and universities in the USG for the $700 million increase in economic impact to the state over the previous year.

"USG institutions and the system as a whole are key contributors to our state and are an economic engine for communities in every region of Georgia," Perdue said. "That economic impact continues to climb, and we are grateful to Gov. Brian Kemp and the General Assembly for their support of the University System and public higher education as we focus on increasing prosperity for the state and all Georgians."

Conducted on behalf of USG by Jeffrey M. Humphreys, director of the Selig Center for Economic Growth in the University of Georgia's Terry College of Business, the study also showed USG over the same time period generated 152,629 full- and part-time jobs across Georgia.

Included in the initial spending by the USG institutions are rounds of funding from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, which are federal funds allocated by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act that provided emergency grants for postsecondary education.

Elad said students make it happen for ABAC.

"Students are the reason ABAC exists, and ABAC students continue to impact the region and the state," she said. "According to the USG, post-secondary education employment one-year, three-year, and five-year data show the average starting salary for ABAC graduates increases steadily within three and five years, respectively."

Of the 152,629 jobs generated by USG institutions, approximately 33% of the positions are on-campus jobs and 67% are off-campus. The study found that for each job created by a USG institution on its campus, two additional jobs are created in the local community.

Counties covered by ABAC's economic impact include Tift, Worth, Cook, Colquitt, Irwin, Ben Hill, Turner, Decatur, Seminole, Miller, Grady, Early, Thomas, Mitchell and Baker.

ABAC begins fall semester classes on Aug. 15.