PITTSBURGH—The Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) generates an economic impact of nearly $10 in Allegheny County for each dollar in county funding the college receives, according to a new study.
“This study reinforces the critical role CCAC plays in Allegheny County,” said CCAC President Alex Johnson. “The generous support of County Council and the County Executive not only enables CCAC to continue to offer affordable education, but it also results in a 10-to-1 return on their investment in the economy of the county.”
The study was prepared by CCAC’s Planning and Institutional Research department following government and education standards. It found that CCAC’s direct and indirect expenditures had an impact of $147 million during the 2008–2009 fiscal year, supporting more than 6,000 jobs in the county. That impact equates to $6.89 for every dollar of Allegheny County funding to CCAC in that year. Allegheny County allocated CCAC $21.4 million in 2009.
In addition, CCAC attracted $2.96 from the state and federal governments for each dollar of Allegheny County support. CCAC brought almost $62 million in state and federal funding to the county in 2008–2009. Combined, the impact from expenditures and additional government funding resulted in a return of $9.85 per dollar of county funding.
“It is clear that CCAC is an important part of the economic and educational development of Allegheny County,” said Dan Onorato, Allegheny County executive. “Especially in challenging economic times, it is gratifying to see that the county’s support of CCAC results in a quantifiable impact that far exceeds our investment.”
Each year, CCAC educates nearly 65,000 individuals. The college provides access to education for many who could not otherwise afford it. In a graduate survey, 49 percent of CCAC graduates said they could not have continued their education without CCAC.
Those graduates also gain earning power. Within a year of graduation, 83 percent of CCAC graduates find jobs in Allegheny County, and an additional 12 percent find jobs elsewhere in Pennsylvania. According to the US Census Bureau, an individual with an associate’s degree earns, on average, $8,245, or 24 percent, more than someone with just a high school diploma.
In all, the estimated increased earning potential of those educated by CCAC in 2008–2009 totaled $24 million. Over their lifetimes, the CCAC students educated in 2008–2009 will earn an estimated $486 million more in Allegheny County than if they had not attended college.
“This analysis describes important ways that Allegheny County is benefitting from its support of CCAC,” said William R. Robinson, Allegheny County Council member, District 10, and vice-chair of the CCAC Board of Trustees. “As the college continues to grow into one of our nation’s great community colleges, the benefits to the economy and people of our county will only be multiplied.”
The Community College of Allegheny County is the largest institution of postsecondary higher education in Pennsylvania. The college serves 30,000 credit students through 170 degree and certificate programs and offers thousands of lifelong learning non-credit and workforce development courses to 35,000 students annually. Incorporating a learning-centered environment committed to the future of the region, CCAC continues to expand its reach through innovative programming and accessible instruction offered via convenient day, evening, weekend and online courses. With four campuses and six centers serving Allegheny County and surrounding communities, CCAC endeavors to fulfill its mission to provide affordable access to quality education and offer a dynamic, diverse and supportive learning environment that prepares the region’s residents for academic, professional and personal success in our changing global society.