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January 26, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)--A study has found that the nine community colleges in San Diego and Imperial counties contribute a whopping $6.6 billion to California’s economy each year, provide jobs to thousands of county residents, and increase the pay students receive as the result of completing their education.  
The results of the study will be presented January 30 at a Sacramento legislative summit with nine of the area’s state senators and assembly members. Legislators will meet in the state Capitol with members from boards of trustees and leaders of colleges and districts representing the San Diego and Imperial Counties Community College Association (SDICCCA). 
The economic impact study, performed by Economic Modeling Specialists Inc., analyzed both the real costs of college operations, such as payroll and supply purchases, and the economic benefits to students for the investment in their education.
It found that students, over their lifetime, receive $5.60 for every dollar they invest in their community college education. That’s equivalent to an investment return of 17.4 percent – far better than that offered by most traditional investments.
Students who graduate from a community college in San Diego or Imperial counties earn an average of $14,200 more per year over the course of their working lifetime. That translated into $6 billion in added income for the state in 2010-11 due to higher earnings of community college graduates, more tax revenue from these earnings and increased business output.
“This report powerfully demonstrates that our community colleges play an important role in driving the region’s economy,” said Francisco C. Rodriguez, superintendent/president of MiraCosta College and president of SDICCCA. “The dollars invested in community colleges are an investment in the future of San Diego and Imperial Counties.”
California taxpayers reap other significant economic benefits as a result of community colleges in San Diego and Imperial counties. For example, every tax dollar spent on the region’s community colleges results in more than twice that in savings to taxpayers because of the reduced crime and reliance on government assistance as the result of well-trained and employed alumni.           
At the January 30 summit, legislators will be presented with the information gathered in the report and will be asked to support Governor Jerry Brown’s budget and proposed tax initiative that will help protect community colleges from more catastrophic budget cuts. As a result of more than three years of state budget cuts, community colleges in the region have been forced to eliminate classes, and students are now paying higher fees,
The state legislators who have confirmed attendance at the Jan. 30 legislative summit are:
  • Assemblymember Marty Block, San Diego, chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee
  • Assemblymember Martin Garrick, Carlsbad
  • Assemblymember Ben Hueso, San Diego
  • Assemblymember Brian Jones, Santee
  • Assemblymember Manuel Perez, Coachella
  • Senator Joel Anderson, La Mesa
  • Senator Christine Kehoe, San Diego
  • Senator Juan Vargas, San Diego
  • Senator Mark Wyland, Solana Beach 

The full report can be viewed online here: 

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