What’s return on investment for an Edmonds Community College education? Study provides numbers

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Edmonds Community College today released results of a recent study showing the return on investment in education at Edmonds Community College — 22.5 percent for students and 8.8 percent for taxpayers. 

Here’s how the numbers shake out: Compared to someone with a high school diploma, associate’s degree graduates earn $12,700 more per year, on average, over the course of a working lifetime, the study reported. So for every dollar that students invest in Edmonds CC education, they receive a cumulative of $6.70 in higher future income over their working careers. The payback is 6.7 years.
 
In addition, the Snohomish County economy annually receives roughly $54.1 million in income due to Edmonds CC operations, the college said.
 
The study, “The Economic Contributions of Edmonds Community College,” conducted by EMSI, Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc., details the role that the college plays in promoting economic development, enhancing students’ careers, and improv­ing quality of life.
 
Data sources for the study include, 2009-10 academic and financial reports from the college and from the Washington State Board for Com­munity and Technical Colleges (SBCTC), industry and employment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statis­tics, earnings and demographic data from the U.S. Cen­sus Bureau, and a variety of studies and surveys relating education to social behavior.
 
Other findings of the study include:
• Edmonds CC alumni contribute $166.1 million in added regional income each year due to the higher earnings of students and increased output of businesses.
• Together the college’s operations and its students contribute $229.6 million annually to the Snohomish County economy (approximately 0.9 percent of the total county economy).
• The college saves the state of Washington about $2.5 million per year in benefits from improved health as well as reduced welfare, unemployment and crime rates.
 
“Overall, the study demonstrates that Edmonds Community College enriches the lives of students and increases their lifetime incomes,” the college said in a news release. “It benefits taxpayers by generating increased tax revenues from an enlarged economy and reducing the demand for taxpayer-supported social services. Finally, it contributes to the vitality of both the local and state economies.”
 
You can see the study results here.  

A similar study conducted by EMSI for the state, quantifying the economic benefits of community and technical colleges and treating education funding as an investment, found similar results at colleges across the state. Together, Washington’s 34 community and technical colleges and their former students add $11 billion annually to the state’s economy.
 
State community and technical colleges generate more than $100 million in added tax revenues annually, and for every state dollar invested in the colleges, $1.70 in tax revenues are returned to the state.
 
Washington community and technical colleges served 469,907 students in 2009-10 and the study found 91 percent of alumni stay in Washington to live, work, raise their families and give back to their communities. At the midpoint of their careers, graduates earn an average $49,000 annually—35 percent more than those with just a high school diploma.
 
The studies were conducted by EMSI using an economic impact model that has been field-tested in over 900 studies of colleges in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

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