An Illinois community college graduate
can expect a total lifetime earnings gain of over $570,000
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[November 15, 2014]
- A new study released today by the Illinois Community College Board
finds that an Illinois community college education increases
earnings for workers, even during a recession.
For Illinois community college graduates, the return on
investment equates to a total lifetime earnings gain of over
$570,000 and an average annual rate of return of 14.2%. In fact,
taking courses at an Illinois community college increases a
student’s earnings 25.3% over pre- enrollment wages.
“Graduating from an Illinois community college pays off,” said Dr.
Karen Hunter Anderson, executive director of the Illinois Community
College Board. “With a rate of return of over 14%, investing in an
Illinois community college education provides a far greater
financial return than home ownership or even the stock market.”
Illinois community colleges add skills to our workforce and boost
business competitiveness. Nearly 9 out of 10 Illinois community
college graduates remain in Illinois after completing college and
contribute to the state’s economy.
“The state’s investment in community colleges stays right here in
Illinois,” said ICCB Chairman Alexi Giannoulias. “Illinois community
college graduates generate billions of dollars in state and federal
tax revenues and provide a skilled workforce for the jobs of the
As major employers and business entities, Illinois community
colleges generate substantial economic benefits for communities
through local expenditures and employment. According to the report,
in fiscal year 2012, Illinois community colleges generated a total
economic output of
$3.1 billion and almost 51,000 jobs.
“Community colleges are the lifeblood of many local communities in
Illinois,” said Dr. Anderson. “Investing in Illinois community
colleges is not only good for students, but also good for local
communities that benefit from significant economic growth and job
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“Overall, this study clearly demonstrates that, for a small
investment, Illinois community colleges are unmatched in their
long term payoff to Illinois’ students, employers, and local
communities,” said Giannoulias.
The economic impact study was conducted by Northern Illinois
University Center for Governmental Studies. The study is unique
from many other state and national higher education economic
impact analyses because student-level data was matched with
employee-level wage data to determine student economic impacts
through their employment and earnings gains.
The Illinois Community College Board is the state coordinating
board for community colleges. Illinois is home to 48 community
colleges in 39 districts and has the third largest community
college system in the nation serving nearly 1 million residents
each year in credit and non-credit courses.
For more information, including a copy of the full report, visit
[Illinois Community College Board]