The Yosemite Community College District’s annual economic impact adds $705.5 million to the region and supports nearly 10,000 jobs, according to an analysis received by the district’s Board of Trustees on March 10.
The report affirms the far-reaching economic ripple effect of the district, which includes two Modesto Junior College campuses in Stanislaus County as well as Columbia College in Tuolumne County. Together, the schools serve more than 32,000 students.
The study was commissioned by the district and compiled by Emsi. The data reflects the 2019-20 fiscal year.
“We always recognized the positive impact our programs and instructors have on students’ lives,” said Dr. Henry Yong, YCCD’s chancellor. “This report underscores and quantifies the long-lasting value of that education for everyone who lives and works in our region.”
The $705.5 million annual economic impact breaks down in four key areas:
• Alumni ($515.8 million): The net impact of YCCD’s former students currently employed in the regional workforce. “As a result of their YCCD educations, the students receive higher earnings and increase the productivity of the businesses that employ them,” the report says.
• Operations Spending ($165 million): YCCD spent $141.5 million on its payroll for 1,336 full- and part-time employees, who in turn spent a portion of that money in the region on mortgages, rent, groceries, transportation, entertainment and other household expenses. In addition, the district spent $67.3 million on day-to-day expenses related to its own facilities, supplies and professional services. All the district’s annual spending added $165 million in new income to the region, equivalent to supporting 1,573 jobs.
• Student Spending ($23.2 million): About 6 percent of YCCD students come from outside the immediate region. In addition, some students remain in the region because of courses offered by YCCD. These “relocated” and “retained” students spent money on housing, food and other living expenses.
• Construction Spending ($1.6 million): YCCD invests each year to build, renovate or modernize its facilities, generating a short-term infusion of spending on materials and jobs.
The analysis estimates the total number of regional jobs directly related to YCCD’s economic impact is 9,280. “This means that one out of every 32 jobs in the (region) is supported by the activities of YCCD and its students,” the report says.
The report emphasizes that the investments made each year by students and taxpayers in YCCD are a good deal for both parties.
In 2019-20, students paid $28.6 million to cover the cost of tuition, books and supplies. In return, the analysis shows that students will earn an average of $8,200 more each year because of their YCCD education. A different calculation reveals that for every $1 a student invests in a YCCD education, they will receive $5.50 back over their working lifetimes – a 20.2 percent rate of return.
“Investing in an education at YCCD will, on average, yield double the return of a comparable investment in the stock market,” the report says.
Similarly, the report shows that YCCD generates more taxpayer dollars than it requires to operate. For every $1 taxpayers invest in YCCD, they will receive $1.10 in return through a combination of added tax revenue and reduced demand for government services by YCCD students during their lives.
The economic analysis also quantifies the value of a YCCD education on California, showing that for each $1 invested in YCCD by students, taxpayers or the state itself, an average of $7.50 will accrue to society in California. “The education YCCD provides its students every year will increase California’s economic base by over $2 billion over the course of those students’ working lifetimes,” the report says.