Mount Wachusett Community College, its students and alumni add more than $207 million in income each year to North Central Massachusetts and the Commonwealth, according to a newly released regional economic impact report.The study, prepared for the college by Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc., involved a regional economic impact analysis and an investment analysis during the 2012-2013 fiscal year. According to the findings, MWCC promotes economic growth in the 29 cities and towns that comprise its service area in a variety of ways. The college is one of the region’s largest employers, it is a buyer of goods and services, is a primary source of education to local residents, and supplies local industry with trained workers.MWCC creates a significant positive impact on the local business community and generates a return on investment to its major stakeholder groups – students, society and taxpayers. During the analysis year, income created by MWCC as a result of college operations equaled $37.8 million and income created as the result of student productivity equaled $169.8 million, for a total effect of $207.6 million.
“The role of community colleges as economic engines has long been recognized and this study provides updated data on the positive impact MWCC has in our region and the state,” said MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino. “We enroll more than 12,000 credit and noncredit students each year, and the majority of our alumni remain in the region and in the state to contribute to the local economy.”
The return on investment to students, society and taxpayers is significant, the report found. Students paid a total of $16.2 million to cover the cost of tuition, fees, books and supplies during the analysis year. In return for their investment, students will receive a present value of $409.5 million in increased earnings over their working lives. This translates to a return of $6.30 in higher future income for every $1 that students invest in their education, for an average annual return for students of 25.4 percent.
Society as a whole in Massachusetts will receive a present value of $955.3 million in added state income over the course of the students’ working lives. Society will also benefit from $15.3 million in present value social savings related to reduced crime, lower unemployment and increased health and well-being across the state. For every dollar that society spent on MWCC educations during the analysis year, society will receive a cumulative value of $9.80 in benefits, for as long as MWCC’s 2012-13 students remain active in the state workforce.
From the taxpayer perspective, state taxpayers invested $16.3 million to support the operations of MWCC. The net present value of added tax revenue stemming from the students’ higher lifetime incomes and the increased output of business amounts to $78.6 million in benefits to taxpayers. Savings to the public sector add another $4.5 million in benefits due to the reduced demand for government-funded services in Massachusetts. By dividing benefits to taxpayers by the associated costs, the average annual return on investment for taxpayers is 13.2 percent, or $5.10 in benefits for every $1.
Other highlights include:
- MWCC employed a total of 1,069 faculty and staff in FY2012-13. Payroll amounted to $32.7 million, much of which was spent in the MWCC service region to purchase groceries, clothing and other household goods and services. The college spent another $14.3 million to support its day-to-day operations.
- The net impact of college payroll and expenses in the MWCC service region during the analysis year was approximately $37.8 million in added regional income.
- Overall, the added income created by MWCC and its students supported 3,294 job equivalents in the region.