Pikes Peak Community College contributed $380 million in added income to the region in fiscal year 2015-16 — equal to about 1.2% of the gross regional product — according to a third-party analysis of the economic impact of the Colorado Community College System.
Statewide, colleges in the system contributed $5.8 billion, or about 2% of the GSP of Colorado, the report said.
The study, Analysis of the Economic Impact and Return on Investment of Education, also showed that for every $1 spent on education, PPCC students get $3.60 in future earnings and for every $1 of public money spent on PPCC, taxpayers get a return of $8.30.
“These impact figures certainly tell an impressive story about how the college has affected the local economy,” PPCC President Lance Bolton said in an email. “But that impact is also something that you can see every day in the Pikes Peak region.
“Every time you go into a local restaurant, there’s a good chance that the chef who prepared your meal went to PPCC. If an accountant prepared your taxes, if a professional designer created your logo, if you were treated by a paramedic, if a firefighter saved your house, there’s a good chance that a PPCC alum had a hand in that.”
The study was conducted by Emsi, which provides economic impact studies and labor market data to educational institutions, workforce planners and regional developers.
“Our investigation discovered benefits created by CCCS colleges that extended to the state and local government through increased tax revenues and public sector savings, as well as positive return-on-investments to students, taxpayers, and society,” Emsi Assistant Director Hannah Ruffridge said in a news release issued by CCCS.
A news release from PPCC said the college serves as “an engine that powers the regional workforce.
“The usual model for community colleges prescribes that downturns in enrollment happen during upturns in the economy,” PPCC’s release continued. “PPCC is now defying that model, thriving in a time when our business community enjoys continued growth and record employment rates.”
After four years of declining enrollment, the college turned the corner this fall with 3 percent growth in full-time enrollments, according to the release. And after being near the bottom of Colorado community colleges in retention in 2010, with a rate of 47.3 percent, PPCC has climbed near the top with a 52.6 percent retention rate.
PPCC is also seeing record graduation rates this year, with 3,711 degrees and certificates — nearly 1,000 more than last year, the release stated.
The full study is at cccs.edu/economic-impact and information about regional impact is at ppcc.edu/impact.