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Investment in an Edmonds CC education sees positive returns


A recent study shows a great return on investment in education for Edmonds Community College – 13.7 percent for students and 14.5 percent for taxpayers.

As part of its efforts to provide a high quality educational experience and return on investment, the college commissioned Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc. to conduct an economic survey of Edmonds CC’s service area and Snohomish County residents in October 2016.

The study, “The Economic Value of Edmonds Community College,” details the role that the college plays in promoting economic development, enhancing students’ careers, and improving quality of life.

Compared with high school graduates, associate degree graduates earn $9,100 more per year, on average, over the course of a working lifetime. Therefore, a community college degree recipient will earn, on average, an additional $182,000 over a 20-year work life and an additional $273,000 over a 30-year work life.

In addition, the Snohomish County economy annually receives about $68.5 million in income due to Edmonds CC operations.

Data sources for the study include 2014-15 academic and financial reports from the college and from the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC), industry, and employment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, earnings and demographic data from the U.S. Census Bureau, and a variety of studies and surveys relating education to social behavior.

Other findings of the study include:

• Edmonds CC alumni contribute $259 million in added regional income each year due to the higher earnings of students and increased output of businesses.

• Together the college’s operations and its students contribute $348.2 million annually to the Snohomish County economy.

• The college saves the state of Washington about $40 million per year in benefits from improved health as well as reduced welfare, unemployment, and crime rates.

Overall, the study demonstrates that Edmonds CC enriches the lives of students and increases their lifetime incomes. It benefits taxpayers by generating increased tax revenues from an enlarged economy and reducing the demand for taxpayer-supported social services. Finally, it contributes to the vitality of both the local and state economies.

A similar study conducted by EMSI for the state, quantifying the economic benefits of community and technical colleges and treating education funding as an investment, found similar results at colleges across the state.

Together, Washington’s 34 community and technical colleges and their former students add $20.5 billion annually to the state’s economy.

State community and technical colleges generate more than $1.8 billion in added tax revenues annually, and for every state dollar invested in the colleges, $1.80 in tax revenues are returned to the state.

Washington community and technical colleges served 305,087 students in 2014-15, and the study found about 97 percent of alumni stay in Washington to live, work, and raise their families and give back to their communities. At the midpoint of their careers, graduates earn an average of $42,900 annually––21 percent more than those with only a high school diploma.

To view the full study, go to The studies were conducted by EMSI using an economic impact model that has been field-tested since 2000 in over 1,700 studies of colleges in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

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Laura Daniali