ABAC Economic Impact $390,015,778 on South Georgia

Staff Report

Tuesday, October 5th, 2021

Despite the pandemic, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College had an economic impact of $390,015,778 on South Georgia during the 2020 fiscal year.

“ABAC provides enormous social and economic benefits to the region in a variety of ways,” Dr. Renata Elad, Dean of the Stafford School of Business at ABAC, said. 

Elad analyzed the ABAC numbers from the annual University System of Georgia (USG) report which showed the USG had an $18.6 billion statewide economic impact in Fiscal Year 2020.

“With strong support from the state and significant planning from our campuses, USG’s economic impact on local communities across Georgia held steady despite a challenging year,” Acting Chancellor Teresa MacCartney said.

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 study area for ABAC’s impact included the counties of Tift, Worth, Cook, Colquitt, Ben Hill, Irwin, Turner, Decatur, Seminole, Miller, Grady, Early, Thomas, Mitchell, and Baker.

Elad said that ABAC influences the South Georgia economy in a variety of ways through spending on personnel services, operating expenses and capital outlay, and spending by students and visitors, both on and off campus.

“ABAC had a tremendous impact on jobs in the community,” Elad said.  “That includes 473 jobs on campus and 803 jobs off campus for a total of 1,276 jobs in South Georgia.”

The 26 colleges and universities in the USG directly and indirectly generated 155,010 jobs.  A total of 34 percent were on-campus positions (52,904 full-time equivalent USG employees), while 66 percent (102,106 jobs) were off-campus in either the private or public sectors. That means for every person employed at a USG institution or the System itself, two people have jobs that support the presence of the institution in the local community.

“ABAC and the other USG institutions also directly contribute to the lifetime earnings of Georgians,” Elad said.  “Once again, the report proves that a college degree from ABAC does pay off.”

Elad cited The Selig Center’s 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.

The USG’s 2020 graduates who work in Georgia are expected to bring in a combined total of $175 billion in lifetime earnings, of which $59 billion (34 percent) can be attributed to their degrees.

More specifically, higher education credentials increase the work-life earnings of the median Georgia resident by $238,455 (certificate), $377,000 (associate degree), and $1,152,500 (bachelor’s degree).

Beyond a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree is worth an additional $247,000 and a professional degree is worth an additional $1,015,000.  A Ph.D. increases work-life earnings by an additional $638,000 over a master’s degree.

“A degree from a USG institution continues to add real value to the lives of our graduates and their families,” MacCartney said.  “We remain focused on doing everything in our power to help more Georgians complete college and ensure our state has a well-prepared, highly skilled workforce to grow Georgia’s economy.”