By Ashley Perham
Graduates from Volunteer State Community College’s class of 2016 could potentially earn $470,000 more than workers with only a high school diploma, according to a recent study.
As a whole, the 991 students from the 2016 graduating class have an earning potential of $465.8 million more than workers with only a high school diploma in their working lifetime, according to the study.
This study, “An Analysis of the College’s Economic and Social Impact,” was conducted for Vol State by Knoxville educational consultant Fred H. Martin, according to Vol State’s website.
The study also discussed the social impacts getting a degree from Vol State could have on graduates’ lives, including a greater likelihood of attending a four-year college, improved health habits, increased civic involvement, reduced poverty rates, and increased home ownership levels.
While similar studies have been done about Vol State, this study was the first to look into how a college education could impact a specific graduating class, said Eric Melcher, coordinator of public relations and marketing at Vol State.
Along with discussing the economic benefits of graduates from Vol State, the study also discussed the economic impact the college has had on the twelve counties in its service area during the years 2011-2016. The study measured the college’s impact on local business volume, employment, and individual income in the five-year period.
Vol State is a “major partner and force in the economic vitality of Middle Tennessee,” the study concluded
Vol State’s revenue is classified into local and external, or “new” revenues, according to the study. Local revenues include sources such as student fees, local grants, and private gifts. External revenues include sources such as federal and state grants, financial aid, and contracts.
In the five-year period covered by the study, Vol State brought in $204.5 million in external revenues and $94.1 million in local revenues to the service area, according to the study.
College expenditures from 2011-2016 resulted in a business volume impact of $293.4 million, the study showed.
Business volume is the total amount of local business that was generated because of the college’s expenses.
While Vol State had around 425 full-time-equivalent jobs each year during the period covered by the study, the college expenditures actually resulted in creating and sustaining between 3,880 and 4,792 jobs each year, according to the study.
Vol State had a five-year total impact of $290.8 million on personal income due to college expenditures, the study showed.
Every $1 that came to Vol State from local revenues resulted in $3.12 of local business volume and from $3.09 to $3.46 of individual income, according to the study.
In the five years the study covered, the combined economic impacts of business volume and individual income totaled $584.2 million.
A similar study was done five years ago with the same organization, said Melcher. The studies determine benchmarks to measure the college’s impact.
“The impact is definitely growing,” said Melcher.