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College district's contribution to local economy significant, report shows

Posted on: Feb 3, 2012 1:00:00 AM
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Contact: Della Elliott (619) 644-7690 della.elliott@gcccd.edu

     A just-released analysis shows the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District’s yearly economic impact on San Diego’s East County region exceeds $477 million, including the nearly $100 million the local economy receives directly from college district operations

   The comprehensive report clearly shows the college district provides substantial benefit to its students, the East County area and the San Diego County region.

   The study by Idaho-based Economic Modeling Specialists Inc., analyzed the real costs of college operations, such as payroll and supply purchases, the economic benefits to students for the investment in their education, and the benefit to taxpayers and the region as the result of a better-educated workforce.

   Local data on industries, occupations and demographics were used to determine the college district’s impact on increased regional earnings, returns to taxpayers, income formation and a broad collection of social benefits and avoided costs.

   Among the study’s findings:

  • On average, the lifetime income of a student at Grossmont or Cuyamaca colleges increases by $6 for every dollar they invest in their education.
  • Students get a 15.4 percent return on their educational investment, recovering all of their costs within 10 years.
  • Over the course of a working lifetime, a graduate of Grossmont or Cuyamaca colleges earns almost $560,000 more than someone with a high school diploma.
  • California benefits through improved health and reduced welfare and unemployment, saving the public an estimated $4.5 million each year.
  • Higher earnings by Grossmont and Cuyamaca college students and increases in state income expand California's tax base by $87.2 million each year.
  • East County's economy receives more than $99.4 million per year due to the college district's operations.
  • Grossmont-Cuyamaca's total annual economic impact on East County: $477.5 million.

   “This economic analysis provides the hard numbers quantifying what we have long known -- our students get better-paying jobs with the skills they learn at our colleges, and taxpayers and the community at large benefit by higher employment and increased investment opportunities, higher business revenues, and reduced dependence on government assistance,” said Bill Garrett, president of the district Governing Board. “Clearly, this study shows that dollars invested in this college district are an investment in the future of East County and the surrounding region.”

    EMSI, which studies economic data for colleges and universities worldwide, also analyzed the overall impact of the nine community colleges in San Diego and Imperial counties. Its studies placed the total annual impact of the colleges on the state economy at an astounding $6.6 billion.

 Those study results were presented this week at a legislative summit in Sacramento where the various college districts’ leaders urged their representatives to support Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed tax initiative to help break the three-year run of catastrophic budget cuts.

   For the college district’s full report and highlights, go to www.gcccd.edu/about-us-area/economic-impact-report.html

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