Study: GPC has made local impact

COVINGTON -- The Board of Regents has recognized Georgia Perimeter College for making an economic impact on the region.

A recent economic impact study released by the board of the University System of Georgia showed that the college provided 4,954 jobs that resulted in more than half a billion dollars in total annual economic impact in the last fiscal year.

"We are proud of our contributions to the local and state economies, especially during these tough economic times," said GPC President Dr. Anthony S. Tricoli in a press release. "Our ability to become a vital factor in the state's economy can be directly attributed to GPC's commitment to offering an outstanding education that is relevant, affordable and accessible. With a GPC education, students can start here and go anywhere."

As the third-largest institution in the University System of Georgia, GPC operates campuses in Clarkston, Decatur, Dunwoody and Newton County. It also has the Alpharetta Center and partners with such institutions as the Rockdale Career Academy in Conyers to offer classes at their facilities.

The two-year college services more than 25,000 students; enrollment is behind the larger USG institutions, the University of Georgia and Georgia State University.

Overall, GPC saw an 8.1 percent growth in enrollment for the spring semester, enrolling 25,282 students. The Newton Campus' spring enrollment was 2,845, a 12.4 percent increase from the previous spring enrollment, according to the college.

Approximately 227 faculty and staff work at the Newton Campus, not including online faculty, according to the college.

GPC's economic impact has grown by more than $40 million from fiscal year 2008 to fiscal year 2009, according to the study.

Partnered with seven other USG institutions in the metro Atlanta area -- the Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia State University, Clayton State University, Kennesaw State University, Southern Polytechnic State University, Georgia Gwinnett College and Atlanta Metropolitan College -- their impact accounted for $5.3 billion and 42,434 jobs.

As a whole, USG's 35 institutions provided more than 112,000 jobs and $12.7 billion in economic impact, generating nearly 3 percent of the state's total jobs during Fiscal Year 2009, according to the study.

That is a $5 billion increase since FY1999 and $0.6 billion more than last fiscal year.

"A college or university improves the skills of its graduates, which increases their lifetime earnings. Local businesses benefit from easy access to a large pool of part-time and full-time workers," said study author Dr. Jeffrey M. Humphreys, director of economic forecasting for the Selig Center at UGA, in a press release. "In addition, for each job created on a campus, there are 1.6 jobs that exist off-campus because of spending related to the college or university. In these ways, and many more, the University System plays a critical role in Georgia's economic recovery."

Most of the $12.7 billion in total economic impact -- $8.4 billion, or 66 percent of the total -- was due to initial spending by USG institutions for salaries and fringe benefits, operating supplies and expenses and other budgeted expenditures, as well as spending by the students who attended the institutions during the year, according to the study.

The remaining $4.3 billion, or 34 percent, in economic impact was created by respending in the region.

"Companies and agencies that depend on highly specialized skills often cluster around universities," said Terry Durden, assistant vice chancellor of the University System's Office of Economic Development in the release. "This is especially true for the knowledge-based companies that are expected to grow faster than the economy in general."