Fort Valley State University (FVSU) generated $141 million to the Georgia economy for the fiscal year 2020, contributing to the state’s recovery, according to a recent economic impact report commissioned by the University System of Georgia (USG).
The report revealed USG schools had a total statewide economic impact of $18.6 billion in 2020, a growth of 0.6 percent over the fiscal year 2019. The study also reported the system’s 26 institutions generated a combined number of more than 155,000 jobs throughout Georgia (4 percent of all non-farm jobs in the state). Of the total jobs created by USG, the employment impact made by FVSU included nearly 1,500 positions, of which 864 were off-campus jobs that exist due to institution-related spending.
“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. “At the same time, a degree from a USG institution continues to add real value to the lives of our graduates and their families. 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.”
The economic impact study found every dollar spent directly by USG institutions and their students generated an additional 47 cents for the surrounding region’s economy. While $12.7 billion of the $18.6 billion was a result of that direct spending, the remaining $5.9 billion was additional spending within local communities sparked by the presence of a USG institution.
With an uptick in direct spending for FY2020, the report found, “In sum, USG institutions were a vital source of economic stability.”
“As the state’s only 1890 Land-Grant institution, FVSU has a long history of serving as a vital part of the economy for the middle Georgia region. We understand the importance of economic development — particularly for rural communities,” said FVSU President Paul Jones. “We are proud of the significant ongoing work our university has continued to accomplish throughout the pandemic to support the local economy to include creating an educated workforce with a quality academic curriculum.”
The new study indicated the Class of 2020 is also seeing benefits, with graduates earning on average an additional $852,162 over the course of their careers as a result of their USG degree. The report revealed higher education credentials increase the work-life earnings of the median Georgia resident. FVSU 2020 graduates working in Georgia can expect lifetime career earnings of $1.2 million, with nearly 40 percent directly attributed to their degrees.
The annual study was 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.
Mechell Clark McCrary