A newly-released analysis by Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI) measures the impact higher education institutions have on North Carolina’s economy. Dr. Kjell Christophersen, founder and senior economist, EMSI, said, “Were it not for the presence of all of these institutions, the economy would be substantially smaller,” This was the first time EMSI measured all of a state’s higher education institutions at one time.
According to the study, Craven Community College (CCC) generated a net economic impact of $189.1 million in added regional income, or 3.9% of gross regional product, in fiscal year 2012-13. The added income came from payroll, operations, purchase of goods and services, business start-ups, and spending by students and alumni. CCC spent $17.5 million on payroll and benefits for 756 full-time and part-time employees. Students benefitted from their CCC education by receiving a return of $2.10 in higher future income for every dollar they invested in their education.
“The EMSI study puts numbers to what we’ve already known about our community college for the past 50 years. We are a great value for our students and of great value to our community,” said Dr. Catherine Chew, CCC president.
Approximately 28% of CCC students originated from outside its region, much higher than the North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) average of 3%. Expenditures by these students added $9.4 million in regional income. According to Timothy Downs, Craven County’s economic director, “The percentage of Craven students coming from outside is higher because of its shape and close proximity to Jones and Pamlico counties, as well as military students from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point.”
CCC alumni working in the region contributed $159 million in added income. Local and state tax payers received $68.8 million in benefits on an investment of $18.2 million. The region also received $5 million in additional benefits due to reduced demand for government services. For every dollar spent, taxpayers receive $4.10 in added taxes and public sector savings.
“I believe residents and businesses know Craven is valuable to the community, but the bottom-line numbers are eye-opening,” said Downs. He said that CCC is a valuable source of training and certification for employees, which helps when recruiting businesses to the area.
The NCCCS created $21.5 billion in added state income, and a return of $5.2 billion on $1.4 billion in taxpayer investment. NCCCS alumni, currently employed in the state, contributed $19.6 billion in added state income, or the equivalent of 375,254 new jobs.
The University of North Carolina system, the NCCCS and North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities, collectively, generated $63.5 billion in added income. Taxpayers received a return of $17 billion on $4.3 billion of taxpayer investment. Higher education net impact is equivalent to all manufacturing in North Carolina and equivalent to creating more than one million new jobs.
For more information about this study, go to www.cravencc.edu/economic-impact
Deborah Kania is the director of marketing, communications and development liaison at Craven Community College.
Article originally appeared in the New Bern Sun Journal.