West Virginia’s community and technical colleges create $1.2 billion economic impact and produce high-earning graduates, according to new study
The West Virginia Community and Technical College System (CTCS) today unveiled a new independent economic impact study that surveyed the value of the state’s public two-year higher education system. According to the study, conducted by Emsi, West Virginia’s community and technical colleges realize a $1.2 billion total economic impact in the state. The study also found that graduates of CTCS institutions earn $9,900 more each year compared to those with a high school diploma.
“We’re immensely proud of the work we do every day to equip West Virginians for the jobs that employers are working to fill right now across the state,” said Dr. Sarah Tucker, CTCS Chancellor. “There is enormous value in a community and technical college education in West Virginia, and there is an increasingly positive impact our graduates realize for the state’s economy. During this time of ongoing economic shifts and discussions around public higher education, these findings underscore the genuine promise of a community college education in the Mountain State.”
Broken down, the economic impact of CTCS alumni totals $1.1 billion in added income in West Virginia; the impact of institutional operations, including annual payroll and other spending, represents $98.2 million; and the impact of student spending totals $8 million. Altogether, this income supports more than 17,000 jobs across the state.
In addition to direct economic impact, the study found high returns on investments by students who earn an associate degree from a CTCS institution. The findings show that these students earn an average $40,300 salary, compared to $30,400 for those with a high school diploma or equivalent working in the state.
Additional key takeaways from the study include:
- For every public dollar invested in CTCS, the institutions return $3.00 to the state. Taxpayers’ average annual rate of return is 8.3 percent.
- For every dollar students invest in their CTCS education, they receive $4.80 in higher future earnings. Students’ annual rate of return is 21.7 percent.
- As a result of people not needing assistance or being incarcerated, for every dollar invested in CTCS education, taxpayers in West Virginia will receive $8.30 in return for as long as students remain active in the state workforce.
- In return for the state’s CTCS investments during fiscal year (FY) 2016-17, West Virginia’s economy will grow by $2.4 billion over the course of students’ working lives.
The study measured the economic impact created by CTCS in FY 2016-17 on the business community and the benefits the nine colleges generate in return for investments made by students, taxpayers and society. During that year, CTCS institutions served 26,337 credit students and 6,548 non-credit students, while employing 1,950 staff, faculty and administrators.
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