Batavia, New York—A comprehensive study reveals Genesee Community College has an economic impact of $33.8 million in Wyoming County where it has two campus centers in Warsaw and Arcade. The study by researcher Dr. Kjell A. Christopherson, finds the College’s overall regional economic impact totals $169.1 million.
GCC’s Wyoming County campuses served more than 1,100 students in 2011-12. Nearly 350 of the county’s high school students were enrolled in “Early Start” (Accelerated College Enrollment/ACE) programs, saving Wyoming County families as much $1.6 million in future costs at a private college ($500,000 in future costs at a public college). In addition, just over 2,300 GCC alumni live in Wyoming County.
The economic impact study was conducted by Idaho-based Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc. using Dr. Christophersen’s state-of-the-art model which examines the effect of both short-term college-related spending and long-term economic contributions, including tax payments, of students and former students. The model estimates with great precision the income earned as a direct result of the skills students learn in college, the additional taxes they pay, and the public costs that decline as the result of a college-educated citizenry. The economic impact model has been field tested throughout the United States, peer-reviewed and endorsed by independent economists.
The study also finds students with a Genesee Community College education have significantly greater earning potential than their peers with high school diplomas. The findings indicate $30 million dollars in annual earnings of GCC alumni in Wyoming County directly attributable to their GCC education. This in turn means a greater tax contribution to the County, totaling $7.1 million annually, according to the study. “A Genesee Community College education brings economic benefits to individuals and to the region as a whole far in excess of what anyone could earn through virtually any other type of conventional investment vehicle,” Dr. Christopherson said.
The study also examined what Dr. Christophersen termed “social avoidance costs” – reductions in public expenses due to the social benefits attributable to education. These include reduced crime, lower welfare, lower unemployment and improved health. The study estimates these savings for Wyoming County in 2011-12 totaled $300,000. GCC also helps to retain residents who might otherwise go elsewhere for an education and livelihood.
GCC continues to work toward providing programs that will allow students to find successful careers. “We’ve been putting a lot of effort into making sure the programs we’re delivering support the local region,” said GCC President Dr. James Sunser. “We continue to look to the future to provide local employers with employees that they need who are well-trained, well-educated and ready to contribute.”
Since its founding in 1966, more than 24,000 individuals have graduated from GCC. Tens of thousands more individuals have completed coursework for credit or have completed customized business training offered by the College. The great majority of these people live and remain in Western New York. About 63% live in the GLOW region. “Genesee Community College gives these students the tools they need to make a good living, and these students then return a significant economic benefit to the region they call home,” Dr. Christophersen said.
Please note: An online copy of GCC’s economic impact statement is available at:
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