For every dollar invested in the Florida College System (FCS), the state’s taxpayers fully recovered their original investment and reaped an additional return of $5.80.

That’s one of the findings in a recent Florida TaxWatch analysis titled, “Independent Assessment of the Economic Impacts of the Florida College System.” On June 27, Kathy McDonald, FCAN’s Assistant Director for Network Partnerships, was joined by guest presenter Robert Weissert, Executive Vice President and Counsel to the President for Florida TaxWatch, who shared highlights from the report.

Where Does the Florida College System Rank Nationally?

The FCS is comprised of 28 institutions and serves as the primary access point to undergraduate education for more than 800,000 Floridians.

In addition to having 14 of the 150 institutions eligible for the prestigious 2019 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence — including the two winning schools — Florida’s higher education system ranked second in the U.S. for two-year college graduation rates.

U.S. News & World Report also recently ranked Florida as the #1 state for higher education for the third consecutive year, as well as second in the nation for affordable tuition and fees. Florida’s relatively low tuition and fees costs, along with high graduation rates for two-year college students, have combined to help demonstrate a strong return on investment (ROI) for students, taxpayers, and the state.

Benefits for Taxpayers and the State

According to the Florida TaxWatch report, Florida invested an average of $4,387 per student, and 40% of students received a degree or certificate within normal time. As a result, for every $1,000 invested per student, a $9.02 return was achieved based on the state’s graduate rate. That means Florida demonstrated the highest immediate ROI, with Louisiana as the next highest with an $8.91 return.  Additionally:

  • ROI for the state: On average, additional spending done with higher salaries earned by FCS completers is responsible for 9,860 sustainable new jobs across Florida.  Over a 10-year window, every $1 of general revenue generated $4.80-$6.80 of additional Florida GDP and $9.30-$13.25 in additional Florida output.
  • Added income from FCS graduates is substantial: The estimated average annual added income from the FCS and its former students equals $26.6 billion. Societal benefits also accrue from this expanded state economic base — including more income for charitable giving — and avoids social costs, such as reduced need for Medicaid and other programs.

Benefits for Students

Thanks to dual enrollment, many Florida students complete their two- and four-year degrees faster, saving them both time and money. Additionally:

  • Degrees earned from FCS institutions delivered a high student ROI:  Over their work life, degree completers could expect to earn more – at least $491,777 – than those who completed high school only, and the payback period was 2.5 to 4.2 years. Student ROI ranged from 10.5%-13.4%.
  • Jobs requiring an Associate degree and the premium credential earners see from their degree has risen: The number of jobs calling for an Associate degree has risen by 31.7% since 2001, compared to only 10.2% for a high school diploma. The premium for workers where an entry-level credential is an Associate degree has risen to $13,027 compared to occupations that only require a high school diploma.

Show Notes

To learn more about the economic impact of the Florida College System — or to view the webinar and download the presentation — take advantage of these resources.

Report: Independent Assessment of the Economic Impacts of the Florida College System

Be sure to visit our Past Webinars page for access to recordings and downloadable material from FCAN’s previous presentations.

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