Study Identifies CCC's Economic Benefits


By Dr. Kenneth Ender, President

You can feel it every year at commencement, when exhuberant graduates are cheered by proud parents and community members. Cumberland County is getting stronger. Life is improving in our neighborhoods. And Cumberland County College is playing a major role in the process.

A recent study on the economic impact of the state’s community colleges supports what we see on campus every day: CCC is generating huge economic benefits. The New Jersey Council of County Colleges contracted with CCBenefits Inc. to conduct a statewide economic impact study of New Jersey’s community colleges. Highlights include:

- Business sales in the Cumberland County Economic Region are $244 million greater, and labor income is $105 million greater due to past and present operations of CCC. The benefits of a robust local economy translate into job and investment opportunities, increased business revenues, greater availability of public funds and an eased tax burden.

- CCC had operating expenses of $20 million in fiscal 2002, and spent $16 million of this in the Cumberland County Economic Region to purchase supplies and pay salaries and benefits.

- It is estimated that the present-day Cumberland County Economic Region work force embodies over 898,000 credit and non-credit hours of past and present CCC training.

- CCC skills embodied in the present-day work force increase the output of industries in the Cumberland County Economic Region, where the former students are employed, by $117 million. Associated multiplier effects (sometimes called indirect effects) in other industries increase sales by $113 million.

- For every dollar appropriated by state and local government in fiscal 2002, student earnings will increase by an average of $1.08 per year, every year through the rest of their working lives. For every state dollar appropriated, the Cumberland County Economic Region will see social savings of 14 cents per year, every year (i.e., reduced incarceration and health care expenditures, reduced expenditures on unemployment and welfare, and reduced absenteeism).

- State and local government support for CCC in fiscal 2002 will be fully recovered in 9.1 years, in the form of higher tax receipts (from increased student wages) and avoided costs (e.g., from reduced public expenditures on incarceration).

- Accounting for increased tax receipts and avoided costs, state and local government will see a rate return of 14.9 percent on their fiscal 2002 support for CCC.

- The average annual earnings of someone with an associate’s degree is $39,744, or 113.8 percent more than someone without a high school diploma or GED, and 36.7 percent more than someone with a high school diploma or GED.

- After leaving the college, the average CCC student will spend 37 years in the work force. The student who leaves with a two-year college degree will earn $390,626 more than someone with a high school diploma or GED.

- Over the next 37 years in the work force, the average CCC student’s discounted lifetime earnings will increase $6.22 for every education dollar invested (in the form of tuition, fees, books and foregone earnings from employment).

- Students enjoy an attractive 20 percent rate of return on their CCC educational investment, and recover all costs (including wages foregone while attending CCC) in 7.3 years.

As this data indicates, CCC’s core values of pride, service and excellence are thriving. Vibrant partnerships with county groups, dedicated efforts by talented members of the college community and distinctive student accomplishments make CCC a special place. The college encourages economic development, and the smiles that occur when students succeed.