For Hometown News
TREASURE COAST -- Substantiating the role of Indian River State College as an economic engine for Florida's Research Coast, a new impact study released documents IRSC's $1.1 billion annual financial boost to the economy of its four-county service area.
The infusion of increased productivity, income and expenditures generated by the college and its students and graduates equals approximately 7.3 percent of the total regional economy.
The detailed study was conducted by Economic Modeling Specialists International to examine the impact of college and student spending, as well as the benefits of skills and higher productivity of an educated workforce. The EMSI study focusing on IRSC is part of a statewide analysis commissioned by the Florida College System Council of Presidents and the FCS Foundation, who announced that Florida's 28 state and community colleges add $26.6 billion in income each year to Florida's economy.
"This new study validates the vital importance of Indian River State College to the economic development of Florida's Research Coast," said Dr. Edwin R. Massey, IRSC president. "IRSC is a sound investment from multiple perspectives. Students are able to obtain a quality education at affordable cost, leading to increased earnings and a better standard of living for the rest of their working lives. Taxpayers benefit from a stronger economy with reduced crime, welfare and unemployment costs. From a broader standpoint, the college's impact extends throughout the entire region resulting in more job opportunities, higher business revenues and an eased tax burden."
The two-part study includes analysis of investment and economic factors. The investment analysis reports on benefits to students and taxpayers, such as higher incomes and fewer claims for social services. The economic growth analysis focuses on the role IRSC plays in promoting economic development by increasing consumer spending and raising the skill level of the workforce, as well as the college's direct impact through salaries and purchases.
The investment analysis clearly demonstrates that IRSC students are getting their money's worth, with benefits significantly outweighing costs. Taxpayers also see a good return on their investment
The study found that every dollar spent by an IRSC student on tuition increases that student's income by $7.
Students enjoy an 8.1 percent average rate of return on their IRSC educational investment, recovering all costs in 8.7 years.
State and local governments allocated approximately $47.9 million in support of IRSC in 2010-11. For every dollar of this support, taxpayers see a return of $2.40 in the form of higher tax receipts and avoided costs.
State and local governments see an annual rate of return of 7.7 percent on their support of IRSC.
Particularly significant is the college's impact on career enhancement for students. As students increase skills, they improve their incomes and increase spending levels, which leads to higher business output. In addition, the operation of the college itself supports the Research Coast economy.
IRSC is one of the region's largest employers with 2,462 full and part-time employees for the 2010-2011 reporting year, with an annual payroll of $82.5 million.
IRSC spent $36.2 million in 2010-11 for supplies and services, with 46 percent spent locally.
The net added income generated by IRSC operations ($88.4 million) and the spending of non-local students ($1.8 million) contributes to a total of $90.2 million in income to the Treasure Coast economy each year.
The accumulated skills achieved by IRSC students and graduates translates to $966.1 million in added regional income each year due to the higher earnings of students and increased output of businesses.
"IRSC is a billion-dollar boon to the economy," Dr. Massey said. "We encourage business and community leaders to expand their involvement with the college by hiring graduates, creating internships, and supporting the IRSC Foundation. Your support helps students and fuels the economy at the same time."