KENNESAW — Kennesaw State University’s growth over the past decade continues to spark major regional economic impact, rising to more than $926 million in 2012, according to the University System of Georgia’s most recent economic impact report.
Spending on everything from architectural services to burgers and bags of groceries helped catapult KSU’s local economic impact, which has been bolstered by the university’s rapid student population growth and expansion of facilities.
More than 24,600 students now attend the university — with just more than 3,000 of them living on campus in one of the four residential housing communities constructed since 2002.
Over that same time, KSU has gone on a building binge, constructing classroom, laboratory and research facilities for its colleges of Social Sciences, Health and Human Services, and Science and Mathematics; a new performance hall; an 88-acre student recreation and athletic complex and 8,500-seat stadium; a new campus dining hall; new residence halls; and a new parking deck.
And more new buildings are on the way, including a $20 million addition to the Bagwell College of Education, the new $3 million Bernard A. Zuckerman Museum of Art, and a $6 million renovation and expansion of the Horace W. Sturgis Library. Plans are also underway to begin construction on the $38.7 million Betty L. Siegel Student Recreation and Activities Center.
University officials anticipate that Kennesaw State’s impact will expand even further with the fall 2015 launch of the KSU football program.
“We take pride in the fact that Kennesaw State continues to be a powerful engine in the economic growth of our regional economy,” said KSU President Daniel Papp. “It is important to quantify the impact of our leadership role beyond delivering innovative academic programs and impactful community outreach programs. This data provides important insight into the critical role the university serves, and the economic implications of the jobs we create as well as the associated residual spending.”
According to the report released this week by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State’s 2012 economic impact on the 28-county Atlanta metropolitan region was up 8.5 percent from $854 million in 2011. The overall economic impact of the 31-unit university system on the state’s economy in 2012 was $14.1 billion. Most of KSU’s $926 million economic impact — the largest among state universities in the USG — consists of initial spending by KSU for salaries and fringe benefits, operating supplies and expenses and other budgeted expenditures, as well as spending by students. Initial spending by KSU and its students equaled $567 million, or almost 61 percent of the total output impact.
The remaining $359 million of the output impact was created by re-spending — the multiplier effect of the dollars that are spent again in the region. For every dollar of initial spending by a university system institution or its students, research found that, on average, an additional 45 cents was generated for the local economy.
Every time the university hired an architect to design a new building, a student bought lunch at a local restaurant, or a staff or faculty member shopped at a local grocery store, jobs were created off campus.
The USG study was conducted by the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business, which analyzed data collected between July 1, 2011, and June 30, 2012, to calculate the university’s economic impact.
“The number I like to look at is the number of jobs created,” said Jeffrey M. Humphreys, director of the Selig Center. “Most of these jobs are in the private sector and exist due to spending by KSU, its students or employees. So when the university buys office supplies, or pays its electric bill, or buys services from local companies, all of which come from the non-personnel services budget, jobs are created.”
Of the almost 8,800 full- and part-time jobs associated with KSU — 2,476 of them on campus — 6,300 of those jobs are because of spending related to the institution, including 4,100 jobs that are due to student spending, according to Humphreys. Student spending totaled $295 million in 2012, up from $290 million the year before. The economic impact of that spending was $443 million on the local economy.
Last year, KSU generated 8,324 jobs. This year, it generated 8,788 jobs — a 5.6 percent increase.