Georgia Highlands College

In a report showing that the University System of Georgia’s economic impact grew to $18.6 billion, Georgia Highlands College was the second highest generator among state colleges.

GHC’s economic impact was over $170 million in the newly released report examining the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2020. It ranked second among the system’s nine state colleges, behind Georgia Gwinnett College in metro Atlanta.

The GHC impact area is Floyd, Polk, Bartow, Chattooga, Gordon, Cobb, Paulding, Douglas and Carroll counties.

While USG’s economic impact was up 0.6% over fiscal year 2019, the system actually produced slightly fewer jobs in fiscal year 2020. It generated 155,010 jobs, directly and indirectly, compared to 157,770 in fiscal year 2019.

GHC also ranked second only to Georgia Gwinnett College in terms of total employment impact among the USG system’s state colleges.

According to the report, GHC generated 1,708 jobs in its service area, directly or indirectly. The college had 532 on-campus jobs and another 1,176 off-campus jobs existed due to institution-related spending.

Fiscal 2020 marked the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in Georgia, forcing the university system to shut down in-person instruction and switch to online classes during the last couple of months of the spring semester that year.

“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 challenger year,” said Teresa MacCartney, the university system’s acting chancellor.

The annual economic impact study conducted by the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia found that every $1 spent directly by the system’s 26 colleges and universities generated an additional 47 cents for the surrounding region’s economy.

Of the $18.6 billion in economic impact in fiscal 2020, $5.9 billion was spent within those local communities.

Of the jobs the system generated, 34% were on-campus positions, while 66% were off-campus jobs in either the public or private sectors.

Another point of local interest outlined in the report is the Augusta University campus in Rome — the Northwest Campus of the Medical College of Georgia.

The total economic impact of that campus in FY 2020 includes:

♦ $1,146,322 in initial expenditures

♦ $1,7020,523 in output (sales)

♦ $1,268,289 in gross regional product

♦ $959,602 income

♦ 12 jobs generated

A second study the Selig Center conducted found that system graduates in the Class of 2020 on average will earn an additional $862,162 during the course of their careers as a result of their degree.

Those graduates who end up working in Georgia are expected to bring in a combined $175 billion in lifetime earnings, of which 34% can be attributed can be attributed to their degrees, according to the report.

Dave Williams of Capitol Beat News Service contributed to this report.

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