BUTLER TWP — A recent independent study documents the positive economic impact of getting an education at Butler County Community College.
The study by Economic Modeling Specialists International of Moscow, Idaho, also lauded the benefits of a BC3 education in terms of tax revenues generated, consumer spending and healthy lifestyle behaviors.
“This is good news on many fronts,” said Nick Neupauer, president of BC3, in a statement.
“It reinforces the value of a BC3 education to our students. For our local and statewide elected officials, as well as taxpayers, it validates that their investments to the college are paying huge dividends.”
According to the study, for every dollar that students invest in their educations at BC3, they receive a cumulative $5.10 over their working careers, or a return of 17.7 percent.
Compared to a high school graduate, the average annual income of the typical associate’s degree graduate in the county, at the midpoint in their career, is $44,000, about 35 percent higher than someone with a high school diploma.
By 2021, it is estimated there will be about 33,400 new and replacement jobs in the county. About 28 percent of those jobs will require an education level equal to an associate’s degree or greater.
The study also stated that an estimated 97 percent of BC3 students stay in Pennsylvania and generated $18.7 million in labor income during 2010-11 adding to the state economy, as well as an annual $9.3 million in taxable income each year.
The extra taxable income generated by BC3 degree holders increases tax revenues and reduces the demand on taxpayer-supported social services, the study stated.
It also said that education is correlated with improved lifestyle behaviors, including reduced alcohol abuse and smoking, lower probability of committing crime and fewer welfare and unemployment claims.
The study stated that BC3 raises consumer spending, with payroll and spending on supplies generating $16.2 million for the economy in the county each year. During the past 30 years former BC3 students have generated $180.5 million in added regional income to Butler County due to their higher earnings and increased output of businesses.
It concluded the total economic growth effect in the county, based on activities of BC3 operations and the productivity of its former students, equals $196.7 million, about 2.4 percent of the total county economy.
“We’ve really wanted to take a look at this since we last did such a study six years ago, to estimate the value of a BC3 education and quantify it,” said BC3 spokeswoman Susan Chagnon.
“Since we are publicly funded, it is very important for taxpayers to understand that there is a benefit not only here in Butler County, but across the state.”
The study combined data from 2010-11 academic and financial reports from BC3, industry and employment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, earnings and demographic data from the U.S. Census Bureau, and other surveys.
For information and the full report, visit www.bc3.edu/news.