Jan 27, 2014
Shannon van Leenen
Media Relations Officer
Alberta’s Colleges have significant impact on provincial economy
ALBERTA, January 27, 2014 - Alberta's colleges make a significant financial impact province-wide, adding $3.6 billion to the Alberta economy in 2011-12 alone. A new study reveals that attending college also pays huge dividends for students who complete post-secondary education, reduces costs for taxpayers and boosts revenue for businesses who hire college graduates.
The study, released by eight Alberta colleges, reveals that investing in an education is one of the best investments an individual and the province can make. Not only does post-secondary education pave the way for a higher quality of life for students creating great career opportunities, it also provides the much needed skilled workforce our province needs to thrive and remain competitive globally.
It makes a compelling case that Alberta's colleges are an essential economic contributor to our province. A college education improves life for students, benefits Alberta's taxpayers, supports our workforce and creates immense value for Alberta society as a whole, enriching our province.
Albertan students are much better off with a post-secondary education, raising students' earning potential and increasing their employability. Students with a college education earn more than individuals with a high school diploma because of the skills acquired in post-secondary studies. In fact, students will receive an average internal rate of return of 20.8 per cent on their educational investment, and this rate of return will continue throughout their working lives. On average, individuals who complete two-year diplomas in Alberta will earn $43,700 at the midpoint of their careers, $14,700 more than someone with a high school diploma, receiving a stream of higher earnings throughout their lifetime.
Taxpayers enjoy a wide range of benefits because of their investment in colleges. As students earn more, they pay higher taxes. Over the course of the students' working lives, the provincial government will collect an additional $782.9 million as a result. The return on taxpayer investment for participant college students in 2011-2012 was 11.4 per cent.
Statistics show that students with advanced education are more likely to develop good health habits, commit fewer crimes and depend less on income assistance. Better health and reduced crime rates lead to fewer claims for employment insurance and social assistance. The sum of avoided costs related to health, crime and income assistance at $57.1 million.
Colleges benefit Alberta's businesses by increasing consumer spending. In turn, businesses that hire college graduates help build Alberta's communities. Approximately 91 per cent of students remain in Alberta once they achieve their educational goals, building careers, families and communities that support the province's economy.
The enhanced skills of well-trained college students make the businesses that hire them more productive. Alberta colleges contribute a steady flow of qualified workers to the workforce. Today thousands of college alumni are employed in Alberta. The accumulated contribution of former students currently employed in the provincial workforce amounted to $3.1 billion in added income during the analysis year.
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Editor's Note: This study was conducted by Economic Modeling Specialists International and is based on a conservative methodology. The report was comprised of data collected from the individual institutions, Statistics Canada, and the Government of Alberta. This report is an impact study, so it focuses on the impact our students make in the community; whereas, a contribution study would focus on the transfer of government resources to our institutions. Links to the PDFs of the full report, executive summary, fact sheets, and benefit sheets can be found below.
Demonstrating the Value of Eight Colleges in Alberta: Full report and fact sheets
- EMSI Full report
- EMSI Fact sheet
- Executive summary
- Benefits to provincial economy
- Benefits to taxpayers
- Benefits to students
- Benefits to society
The following colleges participated in the study*
- Bow Valley College, Calgary
- Grand Prairie Regional College, Grand Prairie
- Lethbridge College, Lethbridge
- Medicine Hat College, Medicine Hat
- NorQuest College, Edmonton
- Northern Lakes College, Slave Lake
- Olds College, Olds
- Red Deer College, Red Deer
*Individual institutional reports will be released in February, 2014.