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AASU has a $116.8 Million Impact on Local Economy

Savannah, GA—Ken Kardash , co-owner of Ken and Candi’s BBQ in the Publix Shopping Center, knows the benefit of having a state university right next door.

Kardash smiles broadly as he talks about the many contacts he has each day with Armstrong Atlantic State University students, faculty, and staff. From those who eat in the restaurant, to the events he caters on-campus, to the busloads of visiting athletes who stop there for lunch, Kardash is pleased with his big neighbor.

Armstrong Atlantic’s economic impact resounded through the community during Fiscal Year 2000-2001 to the tune of $116,884,925, according to a study just completed by Jeffrey M. Humphreys, director of economic forecasting at the Selig Center for Economic Growth in the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business.

The study, released by the University System of Georgia (USG) Office of Economic Development, concluded that the thirty-four institutions in the system pumped a total of $8 billion into the state’s economy.

Humphreys limited his study to three key factors: budgeted expenditures by the university, capital projects funded, and personal expenditures by students.

At Armstrong Atlantic, budgeted expenditures totaled $71.7 million. These included salaries, operating supplies and expenses, equipment, travel, etc.

Personal expenditures by students were estimated to be $45,141,831. These included room and board, textbooks, clothing, meals, entertainment, etc. Tuitions were not included in this figure.

Cheryl McIntire, the manager of Blockbuster Video in the Savannah Crossing shopping center on Abercorn Street, appreciates the flow of students coming through her store.

"When spring break comes and the students leave town, things get very slow," said McIntire. She explained that she enjoys the stream of AASU students who check out foreign films assigned by their professors and their personal choices of entertainment titles.

The study also reported 584 on-campus jobs and 937 off-campus jobs that exist because of the presence of the university. In all, the labor impact was $13,889,794.

USG did not include in its report any portion of the $44.8 million committed the previous year for the construction of the AASU science center complex which was ongoing throughout FY 2000-2001.

Also not included in the study was the impact of graduates on the productivity of the labor pool. "This is, perhaps, one of the most important contributions of a university to its service area," said Richard McGrath, an AASU economist.

"The educated worker is a true value added to the community. A university receives students with a basic set of skills and graduates them as new employees in the marketplace who can demand much higher salaries with their enhanced skills," McGrath said. During FY 2000-2001, Armstrong Atlantic conferred 642 degrees.


April 8, 2002


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