As fall semester ignites, SWGA sees economic impact from Valdosta State

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Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 6:20 PM EDT
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VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - Another fall semester is underway at Valdosta State University (VSU). They may not realize it, but students enrolled at VSU are making a big impact on South Georgia.

When Valdosta State University students are in school, multiple businesses in Lowndes and surrounding counties benefit, according to VSU officials.

Dr. Jeffrey Humphreys is the director at Selig's Center for Economic Growth.
Dr. Jeffrey Humphreys is the director at Selig's Center for Economic Growth.(Source: WALB)

The university’s economic impact saw over $400 million and over 4,000 jobs in Lowndes and surrounding counties.

“I’ve been doing this study for many many years and VSU has seen good solid increases for a long time,” said Dr. Jeffrey Humphreys, director at Selig’s Center for Economic Growth. “Having that VSU in your community, I say, is a very dependable and reliable action of growth. It has helped increase the standard of living and a number of jobs in the Valdosta region.”

Nick Harden is the owner of Big Nick's on Baytree Road.
Nick Harden is the owner of Big Nick's on Baytree Road.(Source: WALB)

Several Valdosta businesses told WALB News 10 they get business year-round. But when VSU classes start back, business burns brighter.

“We’re definitely appreciative of the students and thankful,” said Big Nick Harden, owner of Big Nick’s on Baytree Road. “FLEX is a program where students can use some of their dollars that they have allocated. And what they do is they come here, and they can use it on anything except for alcohol. They come in swipe their FLEX account, and it comes out of their student funds.”

“At Valdosta State University, our mission to advance this region we call home is something we take very seriously. To know that VSU’s economic impact grew nearly 10% during a pandemic and we created more than 4,000 off-campus jobs in the public and private sectors demonstrates that we found a way to work together to help our university and our region not only survive but also thrive during this global health crisis,” said Richard Carvajal, VSU president.

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