Associate director of communications
Nov. 20, 2017 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids Community College adds $413.5 million to the Kent County economy and $34.2 million to Ottawa County's economy, according to an analysis presented to the board of trustees on Monday.
EMSI, a leading provider of economic impact studies and labor market data, looked at GRCC's economic impact through its students, employees and alumni. Analysts used GRCC financial and academic data from the 2015-16 fiscal year and reports from the Census Bureau and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in reaching their conclusions.
In Kent County:
- The money GRCC spends on its payroll and day-to-day operations had a net impact of $102.2 million.
- GRCC students' expenditures added $15.3 million in income.
- The increased productivity of GRCC alumni now employed in the county had a net impact of $296 million.
- GRCC added $413.5 million in total income to the Kent economy, an amount equal to 1 percent of the total gross regional product.
In Ottawa County:
- The money GRCC spends on payroll and daily operations had a net impact of $5.3 million.
- GRCC students' expenditures added $2.7 million in income.
- The increased productivity of GRCC alumni now employed in the county had a net impact of $26.2 million.
- GRCC added $34.2 million in total income to the Ottawa economy -- the equivalent of supporting 606 jobs.
The report also noted that the average earnings of students who earn an associate degree from GRCC increase $10,200 annually, compared to someone with a high school diploma or equivalent working in Michigan. Over that GRCC student's working lifetime, that average increase in earnings will amount to $438,600.
President Bill Pink is pleased with EMSI's findings.
"These reports show that our college is truly woven into the fabric of Kent County, Ottawa County, and West Michigan," he said.
EMSI's report concluded that GRCC generates far more in tax revenue than it receives: GRCC students earn more and companies that employ them increase output and purchase more goods and services -- all of which leads to higher tax revenues.
The report calculates:
- For every $1 spent by GRCC students, they gain $4.70 in lifetime earnings.
- For every $1 spent by taxpayers, they gain $4 in added taxes and public sector savings.
- For every $1 spent by society -- the state and other social entities -- at GRCC, $12.40 is added in state revenue and social savings (lower crime, unemployment, etc.).
"The results of this study demonstrate that GRCC creates value from multiple perspectives," the report says. "The college benefits local businesses by increasing consumer spending in the county and supplying a steady flow of qualified, trained workers into the workforce. It enriches the lives of students by raising their lifetime earnings and helping them achieve their individual potential. It benefits state and local taxpayers through increased tax receipts across the state and a reduced demand for government-supported social services. Finally, it benefits society as a whole in Michigan by creating a more prosperous economy and generating a variety of savings through the improved lifestyles of students."
Grand Rapids Community College has been offering educational opportunities in West Michigan for more than 100 years. Established in 1914, the college offers degree courses, certification and training programs, and workshops and personal enrichment classes. Offerings are held on GRCC’s downtown Grand Rapids campus, and at several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties, as well as through distance learning.