We know Georgia's outstanding public colleges and universities improve our economy by graduating thousands of students each year who stay in the state to start careers. But they also have a growing impact on our economy simply by being part of communities like Albany and Valdosta.
An annual survey shows the University System had a record $14.1 billion in direct and indirect spending in the fiscal year that just ended.
In our area, Valdosta State had the largest economic impact of nearly $367 million. Albany State was next at $156 million.
We should give special recognition to Darton State College. Its enrollment growth and new four-year degrees helped push its impact on Albany's economy up a whopping 12% to $135 million.
All of south Georgia's colleges are important parts of the cities where they're located.