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Cayuga CC Delivers Economic, Social Benefits to Region

DATE: 05-27-2009

College Presents Independent Socioeconomic Impact Study to County Legislature

An independent study by an economic research firm has found that Cayuga Community College generates income, business productivity, tax revenues and a better quality of life for the region it serves.

At the Cayuga County Legislature meeting on Tuesday, May 26, 2009, college president Daniel P. Larson reported on a socioeconomic impact study conducted by Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc. The study assessed the effects of the college on the economic health of the region, through both income generated and social costs avoided. "Compared to a simple monetary ripple effect," Larson explained, "this study gives a fuller picture of the significance of having a community college in our neighborhood." The study encompassed Cayuga and Oswego Counties, where the college's two campuses reside.

The report was commissioned to provide an independent assessment of the College's socioeconomic contribution to its service area, Larson noted. "It helps us fulfill our obligation for accountability to the community that invests in us and sends many residents to Cayuga for higher education."

In the future, Larson added, the findings will support advocacy and fund-raising on behalf of the college, and will "help guide our planning and decisions about programs, services and resources."

Among the highlights of the report:

Benefits of a Cayuga Community College education to students:

  • Over his or her working lifetime, a Cayuga graduate will earn $414,100 more than a worker with a high school diploma.
  • At his or her career midpoint, the average income for an employee with an associate's degree is 38% higher than that of an employee with a high school diploma.
  • Cayuga students increase their average annual income by $152 per credit completed − an annual "raise" of $9,728 - by completing a 64-credit associate's degree program.
  • Students recover all costs of attending (including wages forgone) within eight years.
  • For every $1 invested in tuition, fees, books, and wages given up to attend, the average Cayuga student's lifetime income (expressed in today's dollars) will increase by $7.20 - more than sevenfold.

Economic growth and productivity:

  • After leaving Cayuga, 75% of students stay in the region and 97% remain in New York State, contributing to economic growth and expanding the tax base.
  • Residents of the College service area represent an estimated 682,000 credit hours of Cayuga education, applied toward greater local productivity.
  • Cayuga programs and services encourage new business start-ups, assist existing businesses, and deliver essential job skills through specialized workforce training.
  • Overall, the regional economy is $267.8 million stronger because of Cayuga Community College. Among the assets included in this figure are three components in particular:
    • Skills infused in the workforce by Cayuga alumni increase local income by $224.4 million.
    • Associated indirect local effects generate $24.9 million.
    • The greater regional economy receives $18.2 million in annual income from College operations and capital spending.

Expanded tax base and return on government support:

  • In the aggregate, Cayuga graduates generate about $11.8 million annually in higher earnings thanks to their CCC education - expanding the tax base and reducing the burden on taxpayers.
  • During a Cayuga student's working career, state and local taxpayers avoid $15 per year in social costs for every course credit that the student earned. Savings stem from improved health and from reduced crime, welfare and unemployment costs - for a total of $1.2 million each year in savings as students progress through the workforce.
  • State and local governments realize a 12% rate of return on their investment in Cayuga - comparing favorably with long-term return on investment in the private sector.
  • For every $1 of state and local government support to Cayuga Community College in fiscal 2007, taxpayers will see a cumulative return of $3.30 over the average student's working career, in the form of higher tax receipts and avoided social costs.