That figure includes $215.3 million of income by former students and $34.4 million in payroll that contributed to local retail spending. The college also makes possible more than 5,000 jobs: 4,245 job equivalents produced by employment skills gained by NVC alumni, and 782 more jobs added by college operations.
NVC spokeswoman Lissa Gibbs told the Napa Valley Register that the analysis is NVC’s first independent study exploring its economic benefits to its students and community—a study which she first proposed two years ago. “This is an essential metric that the college has needed to do for a long time,” Gibbs said. “Having that knowledge … is a best practice [that is] vital in understanding the connection of an education institution with larger region and economy.”
Conducted by EMSI economist Aaron Olanie, the study used school data on enrollment, the number of graduates and employees, student loans, campus fees, payroll, and alumni still living in the area. It also included estimates of the return of investments for students and taxpayers alike.
Those attending NVC in 2012-13 will increase their total earnings by $289.4 million (in present-day dollars) compared to the $44 million they would have earned working instead of studying—an average annual return of 20.6%. Another benefit to the community is that, based on increased income tax revenue from NVC-educated workers and a $2.1 million decrease in social services needed, there will be a $21.3 million return to taxpayers.
The study came at a key time for the college. On July 28, the Napa Valley College board of trustees approved a ballot measure seeking a $198 million bond issue for various campus and program improvements. Two days later, NVC announced the study to the community—exemplifying what David McCuan, professor of public administration at Sonoma State University, identified as community colleges’ growing savviness over the last decade in bringing awareness of their results and needs directly to residents. “Community colleges have all gone on the offensive in indicating their value in the midst of declining public funding, and this is an example of that,” he told the Register.