by Alana J. Mauger
Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) students will attain a 16.3 percent return on the time and money they invest in their MCCC education over the course of their lives, according results from a new economic impact study authorized by the College.
The same study also reveals that every dollar of state and local tax money invested today in MCCC will yield a cumulative $21.60 in benefits that accrue to all Pennsylvania residents in terms of added taxable income and avoided social costs.
These are some of the results from a study developed by Education Modeling Specialists, Inc. (EMSI), which worked with MCCC to determine the tangible return on investment that an associate’s degree has for graduates and taxpayers.
“Community colleges can anecdotally point to the many ways education adds value to our communities and to society as a whole. But results of a study like this one are so important because they offer tangible evidence that we are improving the quality of life in the County and Commonwealth, not just through education, but also by being strong, economically focused and socially responsible citizens and business partners,” said MCCC President Dr. Karen A. Stout.
For example, through the earnings of faculty and staff, combined with the College’s operating and capital expenditures, MCCC adds a net $52.6 million to the Montgomery County economy each year, according to the study. In addition, the report finds that, based on historical enrollment and credits completed by students over a 30-year period, MCCC instruction adds an estimated $309.8 million in income to the County.
Altogether, MCCC adds of an average $362.4 million in income – representing approximately 0.6 percent of the total Montgomery County budget – to the local economy each year.
MCCC students also expand Pennsylvania’s economic base through the higher incomes they earn as a result of their education – especially since an estimated 99 percent of MCCC graduates live/work in the Commonwealth. When combined with the increased productivity of businesses that employ MCCC students and graduates, an estimated $80.5 million in taxable income is added to the Pennsylvania economy each year.
Decreased social costs are another economic benefit. As students achieve higher levels of education, they are less likely to smoke, abuse alcohol, draw welfare and unemployment benefits, or commit crimes. This translates into an estimated $3 million in Pennsylvania taxpayer savings annually.
MCCC students, themselves, realize the most obvious benefit from higher education. Someone with an associate’s degree in Montgomery County earns, on average, $15,900 more per year than someone with a only a high school diploma. Also, for every dollar students invest in their MCCC education, they can expect to earn a cumulative $6 in higher future income over their careers.
The EMSI report is based on data sources that include, but are not limited to, MCCC 2011-2012 academic and financial reports; 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.
Visit mc3.edu/economic-report to view an executive summary of the report, as well as a data fact sheet.
For information on EMSI, visit economicmodeling.com.