Oxford College has an annual economic impact of $79 million in Newton Country.

Oxford impact reverberates from local economy to region and beyond

Oxford College's influence on Newton County and the state of Georgia extends beyond an educational mission of excellence to a measurable economic impact.

For more than 180 years—since Ignatius Few and his colleagues founded Emory College in Newton County—the Oxford College campus and the Oxford/Covington/Newton communities have been intertwined. Good relations and mutual respect have been signature elements, and by all accounts the partnerships have been positive and beneficial.

What if Oxford could objectively quantify the impact its presence and influence have on the local, regional, and state economy? What if the economic value of these good relationships could be made tangible? “Above all else, ours is an educational mission grounded in small classes and individualized faculty-student mentoring,” says Doug Hicks, dean of Oxford College. “At the same time, we realize that we play a significant economic and community role. We wanted to understand that impact.”

The resulting commissioned study shows that Oxford has an annual economic impact of $79 million in Newton Country alone, with impact in the state of Georgia at $262 million. These translate into the support of more than 1,500 statewide jobs, approximately one-third of which are in Newton County. 

Oxford enlisted Econsult Solutions to conduct the research. The Philadelphia-based firm performed a similar study for Emory University earlier this year. It has among its clients other leading higher-education institutions such as the University of Pennsylvania, Carnegie-Mellon, Rutgers, and Villanova.

Econsult created its analysis through data gathered on employment, enrollment, project costs, visitor traffic, taxes, and other output and spending. Leading economic modeling programs and the skills and experience of their team of economists, public policy analysts, and other experts were used to create a comprehensive look at the economic and civic footprint of Oxford College. 

Analysis included actual expenditures but also measured what are called spillover impacts—indirect effect and induced effect. Indirect effect is the amount of money circulated back into an economy that is a proportion of the amount spent on the purchases of goods and services in that economy. Induced effect is the amount of labor income that is circulated back into an economy when employees spend a proportion of their earnings on goods and services.

The resulting report shows Oxford’s impact in terms of five indicators: annual operations, capital investment, alumni wage premium, student/visitor spending, and community engagement. For most of the indicators, the report measures impact on Newton County, the Atlanta Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), and the state of Georgia.

Annual Operations

Annual operations represent Oxford’s spending on core functions of education and research, in addition to its community-oriented programs. 

  • Oxford is a major purchaser of local goods and services
  • Oxford directly supports more than 200 jobs, in addition to indirectly affecting the creation of other jobs in the county, Atlanta MSA, and state.

Capital Investment

In addition to annual operations, Oxford undertakes significant capital investments, including the construction of new buildings, renovations of existing structures, and major maintenance projects. These support jobs, create demand for goods and services, and generate state wide tax revenues. 

  • Investment of $84 million from 2013-2016
  • Investment of an additional $30 million expected by 2020

Alumni Wage Premium

Wage premium is the higher wage earned due to a particular factor; in the case of this study, the factor is an Oxford/Emory education. Analysis found that Oxford alumni in the Atlanta MSA and across Georgia earn some $25,000 more annually.

Student/Visitor Spending

Oxford students spend in the local economy, but Oxford also attracts visitors to the area. This includes families of current students as well as prospective students and their families and attendees at college ceremonies, athletics events, and cultural performances.

  • Oxford brings more than 12,000 visitors annually to Newton County and the Atlanta MSA.
  • These visitors spend a total of $3.1 million annually.

Community Engagement

Oxford is committed not only to being a good citizen-partner in the local community, but also in giving its students an opportunity to participate in the local community and to learn on the ground how to serve and to lead. Oxford hires and sources goods and services in the local economy whenever feasible. Service-learning and volunteer projects staffed by students contribute 13,000 annual hours locally, with additional participation throughout the year from faculty and staff. 

In Conclusion

In aggregate the impact of Oxford College includes:

  • $79 million in annual economic impact in Newton County
  • $262 million in annual economic impact in Georgia
  • $114 million in direct capital investments from 2013 to 2020
  • 1,500 jobs supported statewide
  • 520 jobs supported in Newton County
  • $5.5 million in annual Georgia tax revenues

“I am pleased to see these numbers,” says Hicks. “We are proud to be citizen-partners of Newton County and beyond to the Atlanta MSA and the state of Georgia. We have a solid commitment to having a positive influence that is irrespective of the financial, but having these data gives us new ways of thinking about how we can continue to add value to our larger community.”