Olympic College added $204 million to local economy according to economic impact study
Bremerton – Getting an education at Olympic College pays off – not just for students, but also for alumni, businesses, and the entire region.
That’s according to a recent economic impact study, which found that Olympic College added $204 million to the economies of Kitsap and Mason counties in fiscal year 2019-20, making up 1.3% of the region’s Gross Regional Product.
The study, which was conducted by Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI), considered a number of factors, including college operations spending, students who relocated to the area to attend school, and keeping students in the community who would have otherwise moved elsewhere for educational opportunities.
“This study underscores the benefit of a college education not only for students, but for the entire community,” said Olympic College President Marty Cavalluzzi. “As the economy recovers from the impact of COVID-19, Olympic College will play a key role in helping our regional economy thrive so it’s stronger and more robust than ever. With assistance available to students through financial aid and the Washington College Grant, there’s never been a better time to pursue a higher education at Olympic College.”
Kitsap Economic Development Alliance Executive Director Joe Morrison praised the college as a vital component of the region’s economic health.
“What’s clear from this study is the remarkable value; whether you’re talking about regional economics and associated direct and indirect financial impact, broader social and societal impact, or improving our community overall long-term, OC’s importance to Kitsap and beyond simply can’t be overstated,” he said. “It’s an educational institution vital to our shared economic health and future.”
Economic impact to students, businesses and taxpayers
Students receive $382.8 million in increased earnings over their working lives, according to the study. In other words, for every dollar students invest in their Olympic College education, they receive $6.60 in future earnings. That’s an annual rate of return of 23.4 percent, well above the U.S. stock and bond market’s 30-year average annual rate of return of 10.6 percent.
OC graduates earn $11,800 more per year compared to a person with a high school diploma. Earning a college degree or certificate equates to an increase of $111,036 in present day earnings.
Olympic College added $204 million in income to Kitsap and Mason counties in fiscal year 2019-20, a value approximately equal to 1.3 percent of the region’s total Gross Regional Product. The college supported 3,339 jobs, or one out of every 43 jobs in the region.
Students also contribute to the local economy – both students who relocated to the region to attend the college, and students who would have left to pursue educational opportunities elsewhere if not for Olympic College. The expenditures of these students in fiscal year 2019-20 added $22.9 million in income to the Olympic Service Area economy.
Taxpayers benefitted from the college’s presence in the community. The study found that for every tax dollar spent educating students attending Olympic College, taxpayers will receive an average return of $2 over the course of the students’ working lives.
Statewide, the study found that for every dollar invested in Olympic College, the state of Washington receives $11.10 in benefits on average over the course of students’ careers. That figure includes both increases in state revenue, and social savings related to reduced crime, lower welfare and unemployment, and increased health and wellbeing across the state.
To learn more, read the:
- Economic Value of Olympic College Fact Sheet (PDF)
- Value of an Award Degree at Olympic College Fact Sheet (PDF)