With the release this past week of the annual study by the Selig Center for Economic Growth of the University System of Georgia’s economic impact, Clayton State University was once again shown to be a major player in the life of the Southern Crescent. However, as Clayton State President Dr. Thomas Hynes points out, Clayton State’s regional impact goes beyond numbers, to the overall quality of life in the region.
The study, conducted by Dr. Jeffrey M. Humphreys, director of the Selig Center, calculates the economic impact for FY12 by analyzing data collected between July 1, 2011, and June 30, 2012. The annual study is conducted on behalf of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.
“Even in the worst economic times in a generation or two, our colleges and universities proved to be strong pillars and drivers of the economies of their host communities, says Humphreys of the study results as a whole. “That’s due to rising demand for higher education regardless of the overall economic climate.”
The current study shows that Clayton State’s economic impact on the Southern Crescent for FY12 was $256 million and 2,377 jobs. Over the past five years, according to the Selig studies, Clayton State’s economic impact has increased 39 percent, from $184 million. Within the same time frame, the number of jobs the University was responsible for increased 37 percent, from 1737 jobs. Hynes says the results are gratifying, and part of the big picture of Clayton State’s role in the community.
“Clayton State University’s direct economic effects on the region we serve are gratifying,” says Hynes. “But as Dr. Humphreys observes, the data serve only as a hint of other impacts for our community — the data show report payments to artists in Spivey Hall, but not the value of bringing exceptional art to our community. It records the salaries of Clayton State AmeriCorps students serving in Clayton County Public schools, but not the long term effects on students in Clayton County Schools who benefit from their tutoring.
“As Dr Humphreys wrote, `our studies focus on spending and its economic impact, but do not attempt to measure the value the University System adds in terms of quality of life, the creation of a highly educated workforce to meet the needs of businesses, government and communities, or the overall health of communities.’”
Overall, Clayton State continues to be among the leaders in economic impact among the System’s state universities, ranking fourth in the current study behind three much-larger universities, Kennesaw State, the University of West Georgia and the University of North Georgia.