VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) –Thousands of Valdosta State University students and staff stimulate the economy by bringing in millions of dollars each year.
The school essentially the area's most important industry, creating thousands of jobs and boosting other businesses.
Letters are pressed on t-shirts at the Boardwalk. The store has been around for about 30 years and a lot of their business depends on the Valdosta State University community.
"I feel like they keep us pretty busy throughout the year," said Bree Diah, a Boardwalk employee. "We have lots things from other schools during certain seasons but I feel like VSU is pretty consistent throughout the year."
"The school I most definitely think brings an economic impact to businesses I think they love because there's so many students here," said Marion Ramsey, a VSU student.
VSU economists say the last fiscal year brought in $537 million and 5,400 jobs to the Valdosta metropolitan area.
The paychecks that come from both on and off campus jobs goes right back into the economy.
"Faculty members may buy homes, insurance," said Dr. Patrick Schloss, the VSU president. "They might buy a car. They might buy things that aren't immediately connected to the university."
"It's pretty massive the impact a college has on a town," said Carrie McKenzie, a VSU student.
"We take the role of VSU's economic stability of the region very seriously," said Schloss. "We know that every student we recruit is worth about $8,000."
As the VSU community continues to grow so will its economic impact. This will help businesses like the Boardwalk stay successful.
Of the $537 million impact, $80 million came from construction projects on the college's campus.