Remember President Obama’s initiative to provide free community college to some students? Well, last month, the White House released an update on America’s College Promise, which proposes that at least two years of community college would be free to responsible students — and which puts them halfway toward earning a bachelor’s degree.
This proposal is in response to the estimation that by 2020, 35 percent of job openings will require a bachelor’s degree or higher, and another 30 percent will require at least some college or an associate degree. Community colleges, as an affordable education option, are uniquely situated to respond to the president’s call to action. The proposal calls for an all-hands-on-deck approach: Community colleges must strengthen their programs and increase the rate of students who graduate; states must invest more aggressively in higher education and training, and students must earn good grades and stay on track to graduate.
The update from the White House cited EMSI’s recent national economic impact study for community colleges to demonstrate the positive impact of a higher-educated workforce. EMSI’s study calculates that community college graduates make an average of $10,000 more a year than those with just a high school diploma, and those who earn a four-year degree earn an average of $27,000 more per year.
And it’s not just students who would benefit from America’s College Promise: As the study showed, community college graduates of 2012 alone contributed $806.4 billion in added income to the national economy — a return on investment of $25 for every $1 spent by federal, state, and local governments.
Not. Too. Shabby.
Read the full update on America’s College Promise and EMSI’s National Impact Study on EMSI’s blog, For more details on EMSI’s national economic impact study for community colleges, access the full report.