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Economic Impact

Central Lakes College plays a significant role in the local economy and is a sound investment from multiple perspectives. Students benefit from improved lifestyles and increased earnings. Taxpayers benefit from a larger economy and lower social costs. Finally, the community as a whole benefits from increased job and investment opportunities, higher business revenues, greater availability of public funds, and an eased tax burden.

Main report on the Economic Contribution of Central Lakes College (pdf)


Student Perspective
• CLC served 5,539 credit students and 3,156 non-credit students in the 2008-09 reporting year.
• Education increases lifetime income. The average income at the career midpoint of someone with an associate’s degree in the CLC Service Area is $30,000, 36% more than a student with a high school diploma.

Students enjoy a 15.5% rate of return on their investment in CLC.

• Throughout his or her working career, the average CLC student’s discounted lifetime income increases by $5.30 for every dollar invested in CLC.
• Students enjoy an attractive 15.5% average rate of return on their CLC educational investment, recovering all costs (including tuition, fees, and forgone wages) in 9.7 years.

Social Perspective
• Higher earnings of CLC students and associated increases in state income expand the tax base in Minnesota by about $16.5 million each year.
• Minnesota will see avoided social costs amounting to $716,200 per year due to CLC students, including savings associated with improved health, reduced crime, and reduced welfare and unemployment.

Taxpayer Perspective
• State and local government allocated approximately $17.4 million in support of CLC in FY 2008-09.
• For every dollar of this support, taxpayers see a cumulative return of $1.50 over the course of students’ working careers (in the form of higher tax receipts and avoided costs).
• State and local government see a rate of return of 5.2% on their support for CLC. This return compares very favorably with private sector rates of return on similar long-term investments.

College Operations Effect
• The CLC Service Area economy annually receives roughly $22.4 million in income due to CLC operations. This is a conservative figure adjusted to account for monies that leave the economy or are withdrawn from the economy in support of the college.

Added income attributable to the accumulation of CLC skills amounts to $91.7 million each year.

Student Spending Effect
• About 21% of CLC’s students come from outside the region, bringing with them monies that would not have otherwise entered the local economy.
• The off-campus expenditures of CLC‘s non-local students generate roughly $4.8 million in added income in the CLC Service Area each year.

Productivity Effect
• The current CLC Service Area economy embodies an estimated 857,700 credits that have accumulated over the past thirty-year period as thousands of former CLC students (completers and non-completers) enter the workforce year after year.
• CLC skills translate to higher earnings for students and increased output of businesses. The added income attributable to the accumulation of CLC credits in the workforce amounts to around $91.7 million each year.