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Year in Review 2013: Southwestern Illinois

Economic impact study touts Lewis Clark Community College’s value to region

    GODFREY – Continued growth at Lewis and Clark Community College has had significant ramifications for the regional economy, a newly released economic impact study concludes.
     The overall impact of LCCC on the local business community during the analysis period (Fiscal Year 2012-2013) amounted to $338.5 million, or 4.6 percent of the region’s Gross Regional Product. The figures are an increase over the last such study in 2011, which showed results of $248 million annually – the equivalent of a 3.8 percent GRP (up 36 percent from 2011 to 2013).
    The study was conducted by Economic Modeling Specialists International, a third-party research firm from Moscow, Idaho.
    “L&C benefits local businesses by increasing consumer spending in the region and supplying a steady flow of qualified, trained workers into the workforce,” the report states.
    College operations and student spending accounted for $32.3 million.
    The report suggests the greatest impact results from the education and training the college provides. Former students generated $306.2 million in added income in the region. That figure includes the higher wages that students earned, the increased output of the businesses that employed them, and the multiplier effects as they spent money at other businesses.
    “We are pleased to see that our students’ higher earned wages make up the largest part of this impact we have on the Gross Regional Product,” college President Dale Chapman said. “The results are a testament to the quality academic programs and workforce training opportunities offered by Lewis and Clark, keeping people employed and raising the standard of living for the region.
    Chapman notes that the study deemed LCCC as “a good investment.”
    Students who graduate with an associate’s degree from LCCC can expect to see an additional $7,100 in annual earnings over someone with a high school diploma or equivalent. Over a working lifetime, that increase in earnings amounts to an undiscounted value of approximately $291,100 in higher income.
    The average cost for full-time attendance at LCCC for a year is approximately $3,000.
    The report found that for every $1 students invest in their education, they receive a cumulative of $7.20 in higher future wages. The average annual rate of return for students is 28.5 percent. The comparable figures in 2011 were $6 and 17.4 percent.
    Taxpayers can expect to receive $2.40 in cumulative value for every $1 of public money invested into the college, he said. This represents an average annual rate of return of 6.4 percent. In 2011, those figures were $1.70 and 6 percent.
    “Much of the savings to taxpayers can be accounted for by the graduates who earn more, and therefore pay more taxes,” Chapman said. “Additionally, as these students are educated and become more employable, their need for social services such as welfare and unemployment drastically decreases, resulting in additional savings for taxpayers.”
    EMSI calculated the total benefits to taxpayers during the analysis period was $87 million, compared to the actual cost to taxpayers of $36.6 million, which resulted in the 6.4 percent rate of return for taxpayers.