SPRINGFIELD, Mo – Ozarks Technical Community College (OTC) released an economic impact study that found that in the fiscal year of 2015-2016, they contributed $234 million to the surrounding collection of 12 counties it serves.
— Claudette Riley (@CRileyNL) October 19, 2017
The study was conducted by the Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI), an economic impact research company, on behalf of OTC. The company collects data and creates financial models in five industries: higher education, economic development, workforce development, enterprise, and real estate.
According to EMSI’s findings, OTC was a focal point of economic activity. As nearly every employee of its 2,383 person staff lived in the OTC area, the school added $63 million in income. Additionally, 16 percent of students are specifically from outside of the region. Their expenditures, like rent, groceries, and clothing, accounts for an average of $11.6 million added to the region’s economy each year.
The Brookings Institute found that a notable majority of students who graduate from two-year community colleges, like OTC, stay in the local area – while students from four-year institutions are more likely to leave after graduating. The OTC study supported this finding; as the students who stayed in the area, spent money, and paid taxes, added almost $60 million a year to the entire state’s economy.
The ESMI’s study found that for every dollar an OTC student gives to the school, they would gain $5.30 in their lifetime earnings. Further, they found a notable economic gain for Missouri taxpayers.
“For every dollar, state taxpayers invest in OTC,” a press release stated. “They earn $6.50 in added tax and public-sector savings due to increased tax revenue from students’ higher lifetime earnings, increased business outputs and students’ improved lifestyles.”
“When voters in southwest Missouri chose to create OTC in April of 1990, little did they know that every year the college would provide hundreds of millions of dollars in economic gains,” Chair of the OTC Board of Trustees Chip Sheppard said. “We all benefit from OTC’s existence and we owe those early community college advocates a debt of gratitude for creating this valuable institution.”
The economic impact study was the first one since 2010. In that study, they found that then 20-year-old institution had an economic impact of $212 million. In five years, OTC was able to increase its impact by over $20 million.
“Many experts ask the question, ‘Is college worth it?’,” OTC Chancellor Dr. Hal Higdon said. “Based on this study, the answer is a resounding yes. Not only do our students benefit by earning higher incomes, but businesses also benefit by hiring our skilled workers. Those same workers have more spending power.”
Michael Layer is a reporter for the Missouri Times and the Missouri Times Magazine. He joined the Missouri Times in August 2017 after graduating from Goucher College the previous May. To contact Michael, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @_MichaelLayer