DENVER – Today, Dr. Nancy McCallin, president of the Colorado Community College System released a study detailing the economic impact the Colorado Community College System’s 13 colleges have on their local communities and on the state as a whole.
This study documents the vital role community colleges play in the economic future of Colorado and in the lives of the 162,000 students they enroll. Highlights of the study found that the state-wide, total economic impact of the 13 colleges in the Colorado Community College System is $3.01 billion annually. This number represents the higher earnings that students earn, as a result of the education they receive from a community college and the increased output of businesses because of the highly trained workforce from the Colorado Community College System. In addition, for every $1 students invest in their education within the Colorado Community College System, on average, they see an increase of $3.10 in their working careers. On an annual basis, after adjusting for inflation, students receive an 11% rate of return on the money they invested in their community college education. State and local governments will see, on average in today’s dollars, a rate of return of 5.9%, as a result of their investment in the 13 colleges in the Colorado Community College System.
“The results of this study clearly demonstrate the value of community colleges to the students, the taxpayers, and businesses in Colorado. As our students earn their higher education, they become more employable, they are paid better, and can then afford to invest in the kinds of products and services to improve their lives,” said McCallin. “Additionally, businesses benefit by having higher skilled employees, thus enabling them to grow, hire more employees, and strengthen the economy.
“We are pleased that the results of the study show that community colleges are a wise investment of taxpayer and student money because the return is substantial,” she added. “There is the added benefit of community colleges offering educational opportunities for individuals who otherwise might not have them because of our affordability, accessibility, and flexibility.”
At Morgan Community College, the total economic impact was $31.104 million. For students, for every $1 they invest, on average, they see an increase of $3.60 in their working careers. On an annual basis, after adjusting for inflation, students receive a rate of return of 12.1% on the money they invested in their community college education. State and local governments see, on average in today’s dollars, a rate of return of 5.7%.
“This report is consistent with our own studies that demonstrate the vital role MCC plays in the educational, cultural, and economic infrastructure of the communities throughout MCC’s 11,000 square-mile service area in eastern Colorado,” noted MCC President Dr. Kerry Hart.
The study was done by Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc. (EMSI). EMSI is a professional service firm that provides economic consulting to colleges. Since 2000, EMSI has produced over 1,100 economic impact studies for many of the community colleges in the U.S.
The Colorado Community College System comprises the state's largest system of higher education, serving more than 162,000 students annually. CCCS oversees career and academic programs in the 13 state community colleges and career and technical programs in more than 160 school districts and six other post-secondary institutions. The colleges in the Colorado Community College System are Arapahoe Community College, Colorado Northwestern Community College, Community College of Aurora, Community College of Denver, Front Range Community College, Lamar Community College, Morgan Community College, Northeastern Junior College, Otero Junior College, Pikes Peak Community College, Pueblo Community College, Red Rocks Community College, and Trinidad State Junior College.