Community Colleges: Well Worth the Investment?

April 19, 2010 by Emsi Burning Glass

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Over the weekend the Asheville (NC) Citizen-Times newspaper came out with a nice look at the value of community colleges for displaced workers and students in general.

The story talks about the healthy return on investment two-years students see in terms of increased earnings, and it even cites a 2008 economic impact study EMSI completed for Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College.

Here’s a brief excerpt:

To demonstrate the value in terms of income attached to a degree, A-B Tech can point to an independent study in 2008 finding that associate degree graduates will see an increase in income of about $291,800 over their working lifetime.The study by the research agency Economic Modeling Specialists Inc. also showed that for every $1 students invest in education they receive $5.20 in higher future income over their careers, with a payback period of six years.

Buncombe County residents with two-year degrees or some college education made about $5,600 more than those with only a high school degree and those with a four-year degree made almost $13,000 more, according to 2006-08 estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

Also, we wanted to pass along this public radio interview from Phoenix, where Thomas Bailey from the Community College Research Center and Maricopa Community College Chancellor Rufus Glasper discuss the growth of community colleges and increased interaction with universities. The interviews are embedded below.