Last week, Florida TaxWatch, an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit taxpayer research institute, released a report on the economic impact of the Florida College System (FCS). It assessed the return-on-investment (ROI) to both our students and the state of Florida, and the results are significant.
For students, a graduate of an FCS institution can expect increased earnings of up to $838,023 with an average ROI of 12% over the course of their career.
For Florida, the FCS generates nearly 10,000 jobs each year (beyond those held by the graduates themselves) and every $1 invested at the state level has a return of between $10.80 and $15.42. Furthermore, TaxWatch indicated in the report that Florida’s colleges demonstrate the highest immediate return-on-investment of any state system in the U.S.
This report comes at a time when many across the country are questioning the value of a college education. However, a degree at TCC not only provides a substantial ROI, it also prepares an individual to compete in a global market.
According to the Florida Chamber’s Jobs 2030 report, 64 percent of jobs in the state will require some form of postsecondary education by 2021 but only about 58 percent of Floridians have a degree or some college. By 2030, Florida will add six million more residents and will need to create two million net new jobs. There have also been clear indications that Florida’s diversifying economy will continue to present job growth in areas that do not currently exist, and require core skill sets that will be completely new.
Florida’s college not only provide streamlined pathways for transferring to a four-year university; our institutions also provide adaptive training for high-growth, in-demand, middle-skill occupations. At TCC, we offer more than 70 workforce education programs. We teach technical, social and employability skills. We provide service and work-based learning, career counseling and even job placement assistance for some degrees.
Florida colleges stand ready to meet the demands of 2030, but the math is simple – if we want to double our output in our programs, we need to hire double the faculty, provide double the support services, etc. And we can’t wait until 2029 to get started.
To that end, the Florida College System, in partnership with the Association of Florida Colleges, has submitted a program fund request to the legislature this year for $222.2 million in order to recruit quality faculty, expand workforce program offerings, strengthen student success initiatives and increase industry certifications. If funded, this $222.2 million will result in a return of $3.4 billion in Florida’s GDP according to TaxWatch; but more importantly, more Floridians than ever will have the opportunity to earn a certificate or degree and earn a good wage.
I have confidence that our state leadership recognizes what an asset our colleges are to the state and hope they will consider investing in us to ensure a brighter future for all of Florida this legislative session.
Watch the Florida TaxWatch press conference announcement here.