Public Colleges Contribute $26.6-Billion Annually to Florida Economy, Report Says

Florida’s state and community colleges contribute $26.6-billion to the state’s economy each year, providing taxpayers there with a 9.4-percent rate of return on their expenditures, according to a report released on Monday at a news conference by the Florida College System Council of Presidents. The net added income generated by the system’s operations and spending by out-of-state students contributes a net $1.4-billion to Florida’s economy, the report says.

The report is good news for the state, which was among the hardest hit by the recession. A report released last week by a foreclosure-listing firm, RealtyTrac Inc., suggested that the state has a long struggle ahead of it: Florida led the nation in foreclosures last year, with one in every 282 households receiving at least one foreclosure-related filing. That is three times the national average.

On the positive side, Florida was second only to Nevada in the percentage of unemployment decrease last year, adding 127,500 jobs from January 2012 to January 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Monday.

The council of presidents’ report further states that students receive a cumulative $6 in higher future income over the course of their working careers for every dollar they spend.

Moreover, because education reduces one’s likelihood of smoking, abusing alcohol, committing crimes, or drawing welfare or unemployment benefits, Florida’s public colleges save taxpayers some $158.6-million per year, the report says.

The report, “The Economic Contribution of the Florida College System,” was conducted by Economic Modeling Specialists International, a company based in Moscow, Idaho, that specializes in economic-impact reports for colleges and universities.

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