TIFTON, GA (WALB) - South Georgia colleges aren't just educating students, they're also boosting the economy, which is good for your wallet.
At first glance, you might not think college students translate to big bucks. But a University of Georgia study found thats not the case for communities surrounding Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.
ABAC President David Bridges said that the school pays big dividends for the community through wages, construction and other indirect sources.
"Sort of the first degree roll over of expenses. And, then you have the multiplier effect. So, for every dollar spent in the community, how many dollars additional economic impact," said Bridges.
School official said that ABAC's sum economic impact in the area was nearly $330 million the last fiscal year.
Bridges said that's the highest measured impact the school has reached. He said that's because the university is expanding its bachelor degree programs.
"With each passing year, we're seeing a greater number of students stay on for a third, fourth, and fifth years sometimes," explained Bridges. "So, that adds significantly."
And members from nearby Tifton's business community said that they feel the impact.
"With offering the four year degrees over the last several years," said Chris Beckham with the Tifton Chamber of Commerce "That's really providing jobs that we have right here in Tift County and stabilizing our economy."
Bridges said the school is continuing to grow, adding a bachelor's degree in nursing and constructing new science labs.
"This building replaces a lab building that we taught chemistry and physics labs in since the 1950's. So, this is a really welcomed change. We've got a lot going on that's positively pushing things forward," explained Bridges.
Bridges added that many businesses come and go in the area, but ABAC has been there for more than a century.
Chamber of Commerce members said they look forward to helping graduates with job placement, hoping to keep more of them in the Tifton area.