Washington, DC – Have you hugged your community college lately? Thanks to community colleges, millions of Americans—of all ages and backgrounds—are getting a first-rate, affordable education that equips them with the skills needed to attain a good-paying job, transition to a four-year institution, or advance in their current careers.
April is Community College Awareness Month, which provides a great opportunity to reflect on the value these institutions bring to their communities and the nation. A report by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) found two-year colleges contributed $809 billion in added income to the U.S. economy in 2012, which is equal to 5.4 percent of the gross domestic product.
“Community colleges offer pathways to economic success – and hope for the future – to lower-income students, first-generation college-goers, minority students, veterans, single parents, and anyone looking to advance their skills,” says AACC President Walter Bumphus. “Community colleges continue to be gateways to a better life for many and provide access to higher education for all Americans regardless of their background or socio-economic status. Coupled with their economic benefit within the local and regional economies, there is no doubt that community colleges provide the best investment in the country,” Bumphus continued.
As community college graduates move into higher-paying jobs they will contribute $285.7 billion in increased tax revenue and will save taxpayers $19.2 billion in decreased social and safety net services while experiencing better health and lower crime rates.
Locally, according to a report by the North Carolina Community College System office, the net impact of Tri-County Community College’s operations spending in the TCCC service area during a single year was nearly $8.6 million in added regional income. In addition, the accumulated contribution by alumni currently employed in the area workforce amounted to more than $31 million in regional income added to the TCCC service area economy.
“The AACC shines a national spotlight on the role of community colleges in the lives of the American people,” said Dr. Donna Tipton-Rogers, president of TCCC . “Our contribution to the general populace, particularly in rural areas such as our own, and specifically regarding economic impact, is often overlooked. We are grateful to the AACC for helping to spread the word, and are very pleased to be a part of the National Community College Awareness Month celebration.”
More than 2,000 community college leaders and other education and industry professionals from every state will be celebrating their accomplishments, as well as exploring new educational trends and ideas, at AACC’s 95th Annual Convention, April 18–20, in San Antonio, Texas.
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