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Seeking a Good Investment? Study Says Community Colleges Pay Off

America’s community colleges contributed $809 billion to the U.S. economy in 2012 in the form of student productivity and spending, while society benefitted from lower expenditures on safety net services and healthcare for community college graduates.

A report recently released by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) examines the economic impact of a community college investment, both on taxpayers and students.

More stats:

  • Students receive $4.80 in higher future wages for every dollar they spend on their community college education, for an economic rate of return of 17.8 percent.
  • Associate degree completers will earn $1,843,600 (undiscounted) over their working lifetime, $470,800 more than someone with a high school diploma.
  • The average associate degree completers’ annual income will be $10,700 higher at the mid-point of their career than that of someone with a high school diploma or equivalent.
  • For every $1 of public money invested in community colleges, taxpayers receive $6.80 over the course of the students’ working lives — the original investment plus an additional $5.80. The 14.3 percent economic rate of return compares favorably with other long-term private and public sector investments.
  • Community college students are more likely to develop good health habits, resulting in a $37.5 billion (present value) savings to students and to society for treatment costs related to smoking, alcoholism, obesity, drug abuse, and mental disorders.

Find the full report, “Where Value Meets Values: The Economic Impact of Community Colleges,” on the AACC website.

posted in: * Facstaff Only, Faculty and Staff News


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