TIFTON, GA (WALB) - According to a University System of Georgia sanctioned study, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College had an economic impact of $369,874,664 on South Georgia during the 2016 fiscal year.
"We eat at McDonald's a good bit," said Kaine Addison, a freshman at ABAC.
Addison is one of many students at ABAC who is helping to make an economic impact on South Georgia.
The last time researchers did the study was 2 years ago.
ABAC President David Bridges said the report is conducted every other year.
The results show that the ABAC economic impact has increased a little more than 12 percent since the 2014 study.
Bridges said enrollment, on-campus housing, and bachelor's programs all play a role.
Addison is from Northeast Georgia in Stevens County. Since he was a child he's dreamt of coming to ABAC to get his bachelor's degree in agricultural education.
"I want to be one of the first few classes to finish with it, so I'm excited about it," said Addison.
ABAC has 2,000 bachelor's programs today. Nine years ago it had 41.
But outside of the classroom, Addison is spending money and helping not just Tifton, but Tift County thrive.
"Being down here I like spending the money because I see it go back into an agricultural base in the community," said Addison.
Addison said he grocery shops and buys gas regularly.
"It kind of makes me want to spend more than if I was in an urbanized developed area," said Addison.
Bridges said the 3,400 students are spending four years living in the Tifton area, possibly getting jobs, paying rent, shopping, etc.
"For every thousand dollars a student spends a year, while they're at ABAC that's three and a half million dollars to the local economy," said Bridges.
That's something Addison supports.
"This money is going to go back into a community that agriculture is a strong part of its roots so I'm going to help build this community and go forth," explained Addison, "And it just makes me feel a little closer to home and a little more sentimental to this place when I spend here."
Bridges said that when students graduate ABAC and establish roots in Tifton, that's when the economic impact will grow even more.
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