Businesses pleased with GSU impact

By Dal Cannady - bio | email

STATESBORO, GA (WTOC) - John Godbee doesn't wish car trouble on any Georgia Southern University students. But he's glad when they bring their troubles to his family's auto shop, Express Tune and Lube.

"I would say one-third of our business is faculty, staff or students. When they're here, it's a big impact," John stated.

He's not the only one. On Tuesday, Georgia Southern announced a study that says the university has an impact of $795 million on economies across nine counties during the past school year.

"I think the role Georgia Southern plays in a city like Statesboro, in a county like Bulloch, in a region like Southeast Georgia is even more critical than what you might see in a larger university," explained GSU president Dr. Brooks Keel.

Student spending accounted for more than $300 million of that amount. The study broke down the student spending, $65 million went to off-campus housing, $36.6 on food services and $50 million on entertainment.

An increased enrollment led to a 13 percent increase in the impact over last year, despite concerns in other aspects of the economy.

"Education is not part of the budget problem, it's part of the budget solution," Keel added.

The economic study did not include the impact of tourism attractions like Georgia Southern ballgames. Godbee and his brothers moved their business seven years ago to be closer to campus and an economic engine that seems to be running on all cylinders.

The report by the GSU Bureau of Business Research and Economic Development, estimated a total number of 9,206 jobs in nine counties are related to the university.

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