The Florida College System: A Good Investment For Everyone

Mar 19, 2013

The data analysis group Economic Modeling Specialists International has released a study on the economic impact of Florida’s 28 state colleges. That survey seems to reinforce what many leaders have said all along- a college degree is always a good investment for everyone.

“It is true that I began my higher education right in Marianna Florida at Chipola, then it was Chipola Junior College, it is now Chipola College, before continuing on to FSU.”

Speaker Pro Tem of the Florida House of Representatives, Marti Coley says getting a degree at her public college, paved the way for her success in life. But, according to one data analysis group, the benefits of the Florida College System are more than anecdotal. A study conducted by the group shows a positive impact of more than 26-billion dollars on the state’s economy.  Joe Pickens, Chair of the Florida College System’s Council of Presidents, said that economic contribution is invaluable.

“Florida’s colleges are providing exactly the kind of lift our state needs. With a 26.6-billion dollar boost to our economy, it’s clear the Florida College System plays a vital role in shaping Florida’s future,” Pickens said.

The Economic Modeling Specialist’s study isn’t only looking at the impact in terms of dollars. The study also finds that almost 90 percent of Florida College System students who graduated with an Associate’s degree either got a job or continued their education at a university and almost 80 percent of those who graduated with a Bachelor’s degree found work. That’s why Representative Coley argued that dollars spent on colleges are never wasted.

“Dollars spent on the Florida College System are indeed wisely invested, helping our state to continue growing a skilled workforce, capable of competing globally. And that’s extremely important,” Coley said.

According to the study that workforce isn’t going anywhere. The conclusion? More than 90 percent of Florida college graduates actually remain in the state, continuing to stimulate the economy.  With an even higher return on investment than the stock market, State Board of Education member, John Padget said Florida colleges can lift people out of poverty.

“We are really breaking the cycle of poverty in these families, they start with the Florida College System and they end up in jobs,”  Padget said.

The data analysis group also found that state government sees a rate of return of more than 9 percent on its investment in the college system. Governor Rick Scott has also pledged to increase funding to colleges by more than 74-million dollars as part of his Florida Families First Budget for the coming fiscal year.