District Has $1.3 Billion Economic Impact

A study found that Grossmont and Cuyamaca College graduates have a return of $7 in higher lifetime earnings for every dollar they invest in their education. 

September 29, 2023 at 9:30 AM

graduates at a ceremony
Graduates at a ceremony

EL CAJONA recent study has found that the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District has a $1.3 billion economic impact on San Diego County, enough to support almost 13,500 jobs and providing an education leading to higher-paying careers for hundreds of thousands of alumni. 

The East County college district’s economic impact is equivalent to the financial boost that San Diego County would receive from hosting the World Series 193 times, the study found. 

The study also concluded that Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges are a great investment for their students, taxpayers and society, with high value returns on the money invested. Students fare particularly well, with a lifetime return of $7 for every dollar they invest in their education – an annual return rate of 22%, far better than the stock market. 

The study was conducted by Lightcast, a leading provider of economic impact and labor market data to educational institutions and workforce planners. It was based on data from the 2021-2022 academic year. 

“This study quantifies what we see every day – students whose lives have improved and are making a greater contribution to the world because of the education they got at our colleges,” said Lynn Ceresino Neault, chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District. “An investment in education at our colleges pays off for our students and our community.” 

The study found that the total economic impact of the college district is $1.3 billion, the equivalent of supporting 13,477 jobs in the community. It noted that the district promotes economic growth in San Diego County through its direct expenditures and the resulting expenditures of students, alumni and county businesses. 

The study found the following economic impacts:

  • Operations spending: $190.8 million, the equivalent of 2,707 jobs, for the day-to-day operations of the district for facilities, supplies and professional services.
  • Construction spending: $26.2 million, the equivalent of 296 jobs.
  • Student spending: $50.7 million, the equivalent of 701 jobs, for bringing in students from outside the county and retaining students who would otherwise have left the county. 
  • Alumni spending: $983.6 million, the equivalent of 9,774 jobs. As a result of their education, alumni receive higher earnings and increase the productivity of the businesses that employ them.

Lightcast also conducted an investment analysis comparing the amount spent with the return on investment. Students with an associate degree earn about $10,000 more each year than those with a high school diploma, which amounts to $410,000 over a lifetime of earnings. 

For the almost 24,000 students who attended Cuyamaca and Grossmont colleges in 2021-2022, the cumulative higher lifetime earnings for their education are a whopping $492.3 million. For every dollar that students spend on their education at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges, they will receive a return of $7 in higher future earnings. 

Taxpayers also benefit from the higher tax revenue that alumni will pay because of their higher paid jobs. By the end of the working lives of the 2021-2022 students, state and local governments will have collected $197.6 million in added taxes because of their education. 

Society also benefits because those with better jobs are less likely to end up in prison or need income or unemployment assistance. The study found $23.5 million in savings to taxpayers because of the reduced social costs.

“The results of the analysis demonstrate that GCCCD is a strong investment for students and society,” the study said. “GCCCD benefits society as a whole in California by creating a more prosperous economy and generating a variety of savings through the improved lifestyle of students.”


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District Has $1.3 Billion Economic Impact

A study found that Grossmont and Cuyamaca College graduates have a return of $7 in higher lifetime earnings for every...

View More