RCC: A solid investment for students, taxpayers

13 % rate of return on investment for students, 15.3 % for taxpayers

By Kevin Spradlin

* Read the study (PDF)

HAMLET — Dr. Dale McInnis and members of the Richmond Community College Board of Trustees glowed with satisfaction at the results of a study that showed the value of an RCC education.

McInnis, RCC president, touted the findings of the study by Idaho-based Economic Modeling Specialists International as proof that investment in the fastest-growing two-year college in North Carolina is a worthwhile one. The results were part of a discussion Tuesday night during the RCC Board of Trustees regular monthly meeting.

The original purpose of the study was to demonstrate the value of higher education in North Carolina.

This image shows the return on investment of an education at Richmond Community College for the student.

This image shows the return on investment of an education at Richmond Community College for the student.

“We expanded that study so that we could have a breakdown of Richmond and Scotland counties in terms of actual and perceived economic impact,” McInnis.

The study also measured the economic impact of RCC graduates on the local business community and gauged the return on investment by students, taxpayers and society in general. In short, the payoff is big. Very big.

A key component is the multiplier effect — that is, how the college staff and faculty members spend their salaries. Combined with how students spent their Pell Grant refunds, there was a $17.5 million impact on the local economy by RCC students and employees in 2012-13.

“Just this spring alone, (RCC) spent $1.26 million to over 1,200 students to Pell refund checks,” McInnis said.

Students, in turn, spend that money.

“That’s a fraction (of the $17.5 million) but that’s a real-life example of how that’s working,” McInnis said.

Higher wages from RCC graduates combined with increased output of area businesses totaled $86.8 million in economic impact, for a total economic impact of $104.2 million in a single year — or “over 5 percent of the gross regional product for Richmond and Scotland counties,” McInnis said.

The study’s investment analysis considered the return on investment from the perspective of both a student and a taxpayer. The figures show it’s a win-win situation for everyone, McInnis said — and for each, the benefits far outweigh the costs.

For every dollar spent by a student, that student sees $2.60 in return and an average greater annual income by $8,600 than a student who doesn’t go beyond high school. For each $1 spent by a taxpayer, there is a 15.3 percent return on investment $4.40 for each $1).

The less tangible social benefits show even more good news. The impact RCC gradates have on reduced unemployment, reduced crime and reduced government assistance have a net present value of $515.6 million.

“That’s a huge, huge number,” McInnis said. “I think this proves that Richmond Community College is a good investment of our students, our community and our taxpayers.”

Filed in: Business, Education, Featured News, Latest Headlines, News

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