College's Impact on Economy
For the past 80 years, the feeling among supporters of the college has been that the institution has been, is, and will continue to be a huge asset to the city of Arkansas City, Cowley County, and surrounding areas.
An economic impact study completed in fall 2002 proves that theory to be true. Ccbenefits, Inc., established in February 2000 in cooperation with the Association of Community College Trustees, conducted the report. CCbenefits analyzes the economic impacts generated by individual community and technical colleges and by statewide systems.
Charles McKown, dean of research and technology at Cowley, said the study, which measured the impact Cowley’s main campus has on the county, revealed what many people have thought for years. “Everything in the report looks very positive,” McKown said. “It’s nice to have an outside group validate what we claim.”
Some figures from the study:
• Cowley accounts for $53.6 million of annual earnings in the Cowley County economy. Those earnings are equal to roughly 2,239 jobs.
The earnings and job effects break down as follows:
• The college pays $6.8 million in direct faculty and staff wages and salaries each year, and generates an additional $47 million annually in wages and salaries off campus.
• The college generates $159.3 million of annual sales in Cowley County.
• Taxpayers see a real return of 8.2 percent on their annual investments in the college and recover all investments in 12.9 years.
• Students enjoy an attractive 20 percent annual return on their investment of time and money—for every $1 the student invests in Cowley, he or she will receive a cumulative $7.60 in higher future earnings over the next 30 years. The payback period is 7.6 years.
• The state of Kansas benefits from improved health, reduced crime, and reduced welfare and unemployment, saving the public some $800,000 per year.
Ccbenefits, based in Moscow, Idaho, seeks to answer the following questions in its study: What is the role of the community colleges in the local or state economy, and do the benefits outweigh the costs? The information is sought by state and local legislators, private donors, overseeing agencies, and others who fund the colleges as well as by local chambers of commerce, city councils, and local economic development groups.