Economic impact by local colleges large
By Amanda King – The Augusta Chronicle
Just a few blocks from The Bee’s Knees and Hive, the Augusta University Cyber Institute’s new home at the Georgia Cyber Center for Innovation and Training is nearing completion, and that’s something restaurant owner Eric Kinlaw knows will be good for business.
Kinlaw said that he already sees the impact of the university’s proximity to downtown and that having more students close will help. He credits some of the buzz about his business to employees who attend the university and tell friends about the restaurant via word of mouth or social media.
Cindy Rudisill has also seen the impact University of South Carolina Aiken students have on the local economy. The owner of Cyndi’s Sweet Shoppe in Aiken said she sees students in her candy store “all the time.”
“A lot of them are not of the ages where they can go out to bars, but they like to come downtown,” she said. “And a lot of them don’t have a lot of spending money, but they can come into a candy store and spend 50 cents.”
Both colleges have significant economic impact on businesses in their counties and surrounding areas.
According to its most recent research on economic impact in August 2017, the University of South Carolina Darla Moore School of Business found there was a $281 million impact on South Carolina by USC Aiken employees, students and alumni. Most of that was in Aiken County and surrounding South Carolina counties. This includes out-of-state visitors who might come to the Aiken area for family weekend events or when students are moving in or out of the area. The total economic statewide impact of USC’s eight campuses is approximately $5.5 billion.
In April 2017, the University System of Georgia released its most recent data, including Augusta University’s economic impact. Student spending contributed $123 million and created the need for 1,650 part-time and full-time jobs in the metro Augusta area.
On average, for each job created at AU there are 2.2 off-campus jobs that exist because of spending related to the University System of Georgia. AU has 5,446 on-campus jobs and 7,348 off-campus jobs that exist due to the school’s spending.
Local businesses have caught on to student spending and begun offering student discounts. AU provides students with a list of those businesses on its website. Forest Hills Golf Club, Summerville Scoops, and Craft and Vine are just a few of the participating businesses. Rudisill said she extends discounts to family members of USC Aiken students during family weekends.