Dalton State Graduates Earn More Throughout Careers


A student who graduated from Dalton State with a bachelor’s degree in 2020 is estimated to earn approximately $1.2 million more over a lifetime than an individual with a high school diploma alone, according to a recent study.

The study from the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business evaluated the work-life earnings for higher education for the class of 2020 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.

“There is no question students are investing in their future by earning a degree from Dalton State,” said Dr. Margaret Venable, president of Dalton State. “Most of our students graduate with no student loan debt, which makes this an even better investment. In turn, the money our students save on tuition, combined with the increased earnings, add to the economic prosperity of Northwest Georgia. Since most of our graduates remain in Northwest Georgia, this benefits our entire community’s economy.”

Dalton State’s 2020 graduates - which include bachelor’s, associate and certificate – are estimated to account for $1.9 billion in earnings in the state of Georgia during the 40-year span, approximately $711 million more than if they had a high school diploma alone. Dalton State conferred 513 bachelor’s degrees, 299 associate degrees and 28 certificates in 2020.

Total work-life earnings in Georgia for all Dalton State 2020 bachelor’s degree graduates are estimated to be $1.3 billion, while associate degree graduates are estimated to earn $531 million, and those earning certificates, $46 million. That is $591 million more than a high school diploma for those with a bachelor’s degree, $113 million more for those with an associate and $7 million more for those with a certificate.

“We design degrees and curriculum to match our local workforce needs,” Venable said. “We continually evaluate our programs to help ensure Dalton State students are ready for their careers when they graduate. We supply a pipeline of work-ready graduates that have had impactful hands-on learning opportunities throughout their college career, such as interactive labs, internships or work study jobs.”

Dalton State is responsible for $132 million being poured directly into the local economy from July 2020 through June 2021, according to numbers released by the USG’s Board of Regents recently. And Dalton State is responsible for creating 1,290 jobs during that time.

“We remain a strong contributor to the vitality of our local economy,” Venable said. “We create jobs directly through the employment of our faculty and staff while also spending money right here in the community. And, we also create jobs indirectly by purchasing goods and services from local businesses. We are especially proud of that contribution following the tough year the pandemic brought us.”