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RANGELY I 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 percent 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 percent, 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 Colorado Northwestern Community College, the total economic impact was $79.925 million. For students, for every $1 they invest, on average, they see an increase of $3.90 in their working careers. On an annual basis, after adjusting for inflation, students receive a rate of return of 12.7 percent 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 7.2 percent.
Russell George, president of Colorado Northwestern Community College stated, “For 50 years, since the construction and dedication of the Rangely Campus in 1962, the students, parents, educators, businesses and taxpayers have appreciated and nurtured the strong partnership between CNCC and all the communities in northwestern Colorado. The social, educational and economic benefits of this college are well known to us.”
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.