West Kentucky Community and Technical College (WKCTC) has a crucial impact on graduates' earning potential and the regional economy, according to a new research study.
The study by Emsi, a national provider of research to education institutions, shows that the average associate degree graduate from WKCTC will earn an additional $8,200 each year compared to someone with only a high school diploma. Furthermore, a recent study from the Council on Postsecondary Education showed associate degree graduates earn $422,000 more than a high school graduate over a lifetime.
"Recently, questions have been raised about the value of higher education," said WKCTC President Anton Reece. "These new findings clearly show that investing in an WKCTC education provides better lives for our graduates and a better economy for our community."
The Emsi study also shows WKCTC and its 573 employees added $228.7 million to the economy of the college's service area - which covers 10 counties in far west Kentucky and four counties in southern Ilinois - while supporting 4,029 jobs.
The study also notes that for every dollar students invest in WKCTC, in out of-of-pocket expenses, time and money, they will receive a cumulative value of $6.40 in higher future earnings, the study shows, and for every dollar of public money invested in WKCTC, taxpayers will receive cumulative value of $5.20 over the course of students' working lives.
"The economic data is a very critical assessment measure that shows that WKCTC actively continues to contribute and meet the changing workforce and economic development needs of our community, business and regional partners," Reece said.
Other findings of the study show that one of every 32 jobs in the WKCTC service area is supported by the activities of the college and its students; that WKCTC alumni added $204.2 million to the local economy through the employers they work for; that WKCTC's spending on payroll and operations added $21.3 million to the economy; and that daily spending by WKCTC students boosted the economy by $3.2 million.
The results of the analysis reflect outcomes for fiscal year 2018-19. The study demonstrates that WKCTC and schools in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) create value from multiple perspectives. The colleges benefit local businesses and the state's economy by:
- Increasing consumer spending in Central Kentucky and supplying a steady flow of qualified, educated people into the workforce
- Enriching the lives of students by raising their lifetime earnings and helping them achieve their Better Lives
- Benefitting state taxpayers through increased tax receipts across the state and a reduced demand for government-supported social services
- Benefitting communities in western Kentucky by creating a more prosperous economy
- Generating a variety of savings through the improved lifestyles of students