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Fact Sheet: Economic Impact of Wharton County Junior College
Wharton County Junior College plays a significant role in the local economy and is a sound investment from multiple perspectives. Students benefit from improved lifestyles and increased earnings. Taxpayers benefit from a larger economy and lower social costs. Finally, the community as a whole benefits from increased job and investment opportunities, higher business revenues, greater availability of public funds, and an eased tax burden.
WCJC stimulates the local economy
- The WCJC Service Region economy received roughly $19.3 million in income due to WCJC operations and capital spending in FY 2008-09.
- WCJC activities encourage new business, assist existing business, and create long-term economic growth. The college enhances worker skills and provides customized training to local business and industry. It is estimated that in FY 2008-09 the WCJC Service Region workforce embodied about 873,900 credits of past and present WCJC training.
- WCJC skills translate to higher earnings for students and increased output of businesses. The added income attributable to the accumulation of WCJC credits in the workforce amounted to $269.0 million in FY2008-09.
WCJC leverages taxpayer dollars
- The state and local community will see avoided social costs amounting to $20 per year for every credit earned by WCJC students, including savings associated with improved health, lower crime costs, and reduced welfare and unemployment. This translates to $2.6 million in avoided costs to the State of Texas each year as long as students are in the workforce.
- Students benefit from higher earnings, thereby expanding the tax base and reducing the burden on state and local taxpayers. In the aggregate, WCJC students generate about $20.0 million annually in higher earnings due to their WCJC education.
- WCJC yields a return on government investment. State and local government allocated around $18.4 million in support of WCJC in fiscal year 2008-09. For every $1 of this support, taxpayers see a cumulative return of $2.90 over the course of students' working careers (in the form of higher tax receipts and avoided social costs).
- State and local government see a rate of return of 11% on their support for WCJC. This return compares very favorably with private sector rates of return on similar long-term investments.
WCJC increases individuals' earning potential
- A total of 10,118 credit and non-credit students attended the college in FY 2008-09. About 60% of these students stay in the service area initially after they leave college, contributing to the local economy.
- Education increases lifetime income. The average annual income of a one-year certificate graduate at the midpoint of his or her career is $28,400, or 82% more than someone without a high school diploma, and 16% more than a student with a high school diploma. The average income at the career midpoint of someone with an associate's degree is $33,600, or 115% more than someone without a high school diploma, and 38% more than a student with a high school diploma.
- WCJC students enjoy an average annual income increase of $158 for every credit completed.
- Throughout his or her working career, the average WCJC student's discounted lifetime income (i.e., future values expressed in present value terms) increases by $6.70 for every $1 invested (tuition, fees, books, and wages given up to attend).
- Students enjoy an attractive 18% rate of return on their WCJC educational investment, recovering all costs (including wages foregone) in 9 years.