As Florida’s unemployment hovers at 7.8 percent and public funding for higher education is being cut, a new study finds that Pasco-Hernando Community College boosts the economy of Pasco and Hernando counties by $240 million a year. This figure equals 2.6 percent of the total PHCC service area economy.
The study, conducted by Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc. (EMSI) on behalf of the 28 colleges within the Florida College System, calculated PHCC’s total economic impact on its two county service area. The figure is based on the PHCC payroll and operations spending as well as the accumulated economic impact the College’s graduates have had on the local economy. Since the College’s inception in 1972, the College has awarded more than 32,000 degrees and certificates. The study reviewed the economic impact of graduates in a 29 year period and takes into consideration increased earning potential and increased output of business.
“We knew that the College’s contribution to the local economy has been significant on an annual basis and over the course of four decades of service,” said PHCC President Katherine Johnson. “This report substantiates the economic impact PHCC has on the community and relates the value of our institution to the community and taxpayers.”
For students, every dollar spent on tuition today increases a student’s future income by $6.40, according to the EMSI study. From an investment standpoint, PHCC students enjoy a 16.7 percent rate of return on their investment of time and money. Compared to someone with a high school diploma, associate’s degree holders earn $8,200 more per year, on average, over the course of their working lifetime.
For Florida taxpayers, the rate of return on their investment in the college is 7.7 percent, outperforming nearly all private investments’ return on the dollar.
PHCC employs a total of 389 full-time and 336 part-time faculty and staff (based on the 2011-12 reporting year) and spends approximately $31.7 million a year on salaries, services and supplies. The College has four locations in Brooksville, Dade City, New Port Richey and Spring Hill. A new $39 million full service campus will open in Wesley Chapel in January 2014.
“Many of our graduates are immediately employable and choose to live and work in our two county district,” said Johnson. “As we move forward with the approval process to offer baccalaureate degrees and open the Porter Campus in Wesley Chapel, the opportunities PHCC provides to current and future students will grow as well as our impact on the local economy.”
Data sources include, but are not limited to, 2011-12 academic and financial reports from the college, industry and employment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and earnings and demographic data from the U.S. Census Bureau.