A recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education announced the results of an economic impact study (EIS) conducted by EMSI for Florida’s state and community colleges and revealed at a news conference by the Florida College System Council of Presidents. The report, “The Economic Contribution of the Florida College System,” revealed that, together, the colleges contribute $26.6 billion annually to Florida’s economy.
This contribution provides Florida taxpayers with a 9.4% rate of return on their expenditures. The net added income (generated by the system’s operations and spending by out-of-state students) contributes a net $1.4 billion to Florida’s economy. Furthermore, students receive a cumulative $6 in higher future income over the course of their working careers for every dollar they spend. Overall, Florida’s public colleges save taxpayers $158.6 million each year.
As the article noted, EMSI’s study is good news for the state, which was hit hard by the recession.
Ryan Benk of WFSU News also reported on the study, stating that EMSI’s survey “seems to reinforce what many leaders have said all along — a college degree is always a good investment for everyone.” Speaker Pro Tem of the Florida House of Representatives, Marti Coley, argued that dollars spent on education are never wasted, based on EMSI’s report which showed that almost 90% of the students who graduated with an AA either continued their education or got a job, and nearly 80% of those with a BA found work. “Dollars spent on the Florida College System are indeed wisely invested,” Coley said, “helping our state to continue growing a skilled workforce, capable of competing globally.”
Even better news is that the workforce is largely staying put. According to the study, more then 90% of Florida college graduates remain in the state, continuing to stimulate the economy. State Board of Education member John Padget said that with an even higher return on investment than the stock market, Florida colleges can help families by breaking them out of the cycle of poverty. “They start with Florida College System and end up in jobs,” he said.
As Kelly Tyko reported on TCPalm, EMSI’s study showed that Indian River State College alone boosts the economy of the four counties it serves by $1.1 billion each year. IRSC President Edwin Massey said that the study validates the importance of the college to the Treasure Coast. “IRSC is a boon to the economy,” he said. “The college’s impact extends throughout the entire region resulting in more job opportunities, higher business revenues, and an eased tax burden.”
According to Joe Pickens, Chair of the Florida College System’s Council of Presidents, the economic contribution of Florida’s 28 state colleges is invaluable. “Florida’s colleges are providing exactly the kind of lift our state needs,” Pickens said.
Click here for the full report: “The Economic Contribution of the Florida College System.”