Dalton State Graduates Earn More, Impact Local Economy


Dalton State graduates with a bachelor’s degree earn an average of $1.2 million more over their lifetime than those with a high school diploma alone, a recent study shows.

The study from the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business evaluates the work-life earnings for higher education across the University System of Georgia’s (USG) 26 institutions, which include Dalton State. Average work-life earnings were calculated for individuals with a bachelor’s degree working full-time for 40 years.

“Dalton State was recognized recently as being among the best colleges in the nation for return on investment,” said Dr. Margaret Venable, president of Dalton State. “Our college is affordable and most of our students graduate without any student loan debt. There is no question whether higher education is worth pursuing, and this study confirms that. Additionally, increased earnings add to the economic prosperity of the Northwest Georgia.”

Dalton State’s 2019 graduates, including bachelor’s, associate and certificates, are estimated to account for $1.9 billion in earnings in the state of Georgia during the 40-year span, which is $750 million more than if they had a high school diploma alone.

Dalton State conferred 817 degrees in 2019: 528 bachelor’s, 255 associate and 34 certificates.

Bachelor degree work-life earnings for Dalton State’s class of 2019 are estimated to total $1.4 billion while associate degree earnings are estimated at $463 million. Certificates have an estimate of $54 million.

That is $640 million more than a high school degree alone for bachelor’s degrees, $106 million more for associate degrees, and $6 million more for certificates.

“Our degrees fill workforce needs,” Venable said. “We are continually evaluating our programs and curriculum to make sure Dalton State students are ready for their careers when they graduate. We provide a pipeline of qualified, educated graduates to supply the workforce. The majority of our graduates live and work in Northwest Georgia so their earnings have a direct impact on the local economy.”

Dalton State is responsible for $138 million being poured directly into the regional economy, according to numbers released by the USG Board of Regents recently. And Dalton State is responsible for creating 1,399 jobs.

“We remain a significant contributor to the vitality of our local economy,” Venable said. “We spend money and create jobs directly through the employment of our faculty and staff. And we create jobs indirectly from goods and services purchased from local businesses by the college itself, by our employees and students and by visitors to the college.”

The economic impact report, evaluating fiscal year 2019, was compiled by Dr. Jeffrey M. Humphreys, director of the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business.