January 30, 2013: Community College Degrees Pay!

Posted on January 31, 2013. Filed under: Community Colleges |

Are Community Colleges a private benefit or a public good? Well, as in many things, this is a false dichotomy – the answer is: both. But can we quantify that private benefit? The public good? Thanks to a newly released report from the American Association of Community Colleges (January 2013) we can quantify the contributions of community colleges to graduates and to society!

The report cites hard evidence to show that workers earn bigger paychecks for each level of education they have completed, from high school graduates to Bachelor’s degree-holders. And bigger paychecks mean more in taxes for the state and local governments.

The report also shows how strong the value of two-year degrees and certificates are in the workforce. For example, one-quarter of Bachelor’s-degree holders earn LESS than workers with Associate degrees.

So why do state governments invest less money per student in the community college sector than in public, four-year institutions? (Rhetorical question). Is it fair that community colleges enroll 43% of all undergraduate students but receive only 20% of state tax appropriations for higher education (Another rhetorical question).

Part of being a community college professional is advocating for our sector. I hope my colleagues will take a look at the report so we can tell our state and local government officials to support community colleges – and support bigger paychecks for our graduates (and more in taxes for our communities).

LBS

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