Every semester, thousands of students return to schools like FAMU, FSU and Valdosta State, improving their education and the local economies at the same time.
In fact, a new study by VSU shows that university contributed more than $304 million to the metro Valdosta economy last year.
Cindy Tori, VSU economic impact study author, says, "That number represents about nine percent of the total income for the metro Valdosta area, so it's a large impact on the Valdosta area."
It's a fact local business leaders have noticed and grown to rely on in several areas, including a growing customer base.
Parrish Clark of Guardian Bank says, "For every graduate they put out, it creates an extra potential employee for us to look at, and for us in the financial sector, we need a well-educated workforce."
Attorney Tom Gooding adds, "With expected growth of four to six percent in student enrollment, VSU will continue to be a key economic engine for our whole area."
The author of the study says while VSU may generate more than $304 million for the local economy, the impact of the university is much larger.
"I measured the quantitative numbers of the impact, which is not including the qualitative impact. There are other things which have not been measured like reading programs," Tori says.
The programs will further enrich the community for years to come.