Economic Impact Study Shows Big Value For Students, Community

November 7, 2018

Kay Hendricks

Speakers at the press conference At a press conference November 7, the Alamo Colleges District (ACD), the largest provider of higher education in South Texas, announced the results of an economic impact study that quantifies the dollar value of the district and its colleges to its students, taxpayers and the community as a whole. The study, by EMSI, an internationally renowned provider of data for higher education and business, shows that the difference the ACD makes in its students’ lives has a broad impact on the area’s economy and the community.

"The social and economic impact of the Alamo Colleges is reflected every day in the stories we hear from our students and alumni,” said Alamo Colleges Chancellor Dr. Mike Flores. "Their personal successes cannot be conveyed in a report or a statistic.  We celebrate their prosperity and highlight their stories every month during board meetings and even more often at our colleges. But there are metrics we can point to that highlight the impact of the Alamo Colleges District and its colleges on the lives of our students and our local economy,” he added.

Joining Dr. Flores to celebrate the study’s findings were Alamo Colleges District Trustee and Assistant Board Secretary Joe Jesse Sanchez, St. Philip’s College President Dr. Adena Williams Loston, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, San Antonio Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Richard Perez and Alamo Colleges’ alumnus Andrew Vazquez Hubbard. The event was held in the St. Philip’s College Center for Health Professions.

Student Impact

Over the years, students have studied at the Alamo Colleges and entered or re-entered the workforce with newly-acquired skills. Today, hundreds of thousands of these former students are employed in the Alamo Colleges service area. The impact of former students currently employed in the regional workforce amounted to $2 billion in added income during the analysis year of this study. That¹s such a big number it¹s hard to grasp, but it¹s an economic boost similar to a city hosting the World Series 333 times! 

In return for their investment in the Alamo Colleges, students will receive a present value of $2.6 billion in increased earnings over their working lives. This translates to a return of $7 in higher future earnings for every dollar that students invest in their education at Alamo Colleges. This is an average annual return of 21.7%, substantial when compared to .8% interest earned on savings accounts. 

Taxpayer Impact

In FY 2016-17, state and local taxpayers paid $296.3 million to support the operations of the Alamo Colleges. This was money well invested in the future of the state and the community. The net present value of the added tax revenue stemming from ACD students’ higher lifetime earnings and the increased output of businesses amounts to $1 billion in benefits to taxpayers. Savings to the public sector add another $62.3 million in benefits due to a reduced demand for government-funded services. 

To translate this into numbers that are more relatable, this means that for every dollar spent by taxpayers, they receive $3.70 in added tax revenues and public sector savings. This is an average annual rate of return of 10.2%, which is very good for any investment. As the Alamo Colleges continues to grow, along with the city and county, the numbers will only get better.  

Society/Community Impact

This study validates what we many already know about the economic value of the Alamo Colleges and its students, who added $2.6 billion in income to the Alamo Colleges service area economy, nearly equal to 2% of the region’s total gross regional product. The Alamo Colleges District’s impact supported 41,170 jobs in FY 2016-17, and that number has undoubtedly grown since the study was completed. This means that one out  of every 35 jobs in the ACD service area is supported by the activities of ACD and its students. In addition, the net impact of the district’s payroll and expense spending was nearly $370.2 million in income to businesses in the community. The net impact of the ACD’s construction spending was $22.6 million in added income for their service area. Construction spending will have an even greater impact as the district begins the projects funded by the $450 million bond issue approved in 2017.

In terms of return on investment, for every dollar that society spent on FY 2016-17 Alamo Colleges educations, it will receive a cumulative value of $22.40 in added state revenue and social savings. Society will also benefit from $225.1 million in present value social savings related to reduced crime, lower unemployment and increased health and well-being across the state. 

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Economic Impact Press Conference