FLORIDA CAPITOL, TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – March 22, 2019 – The Florida TaxWatch, an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit taxpayer research institute and government watchdog announced at a press conference the results of its independent assessment of the economic impacts of the Florida College System. The research performed by the Florida TaxWatch, alongside economist Richard Harper, Ph.D, shows that the Florida College System provides a significant return on the State’s investment, increases expected work-life earnings for students, and compares favorably to colleges nationally in terms of enrollment and graduation rates. The assessment highlights that the return on investment for students is significant. Students experience increased expected work-life earnings of $491,777 to $838,023 and a repayment of total cost time of only 2.5 to 3.8 years. In addition, the higher work-life salaries earned by degree holders compared to high-school completers compared with the public investment in the system translates to a return of $10.80 to $15.42 in increased Florida Gross Domestic Product for every $1 invested and generates nearly 10,000 new jobs.

“The TaxWatch report highlights the value provided by the Florida College System given the corresponding high return on investment,” said Dr. Thomas Leitzel, president of South Florida State College (SFSC). “The report confirms that students, upon graduation, enter jobs that provide high wages and salaries. SFSC Associate in Science degree recipients earn more than $56,000 on average in their first year of work following graduation, placing SFSC as the top college in the state for this criteria. We’re thrilled to see SFSC graduates contributing to Florida’s economy in a meaningful way, plus they remain in Florida and as a result of their academic success, they enjoy a high degree of professional and personal satisfaction.”

“A great many of our university graduates started at a community college, myself included,” said Florida TaxWatch president and CEO Dominic M. Calabro. “Florida’s College System has provided an opportunity for generations of Floridians to have a better life, and the return on the State’s taxpayers’ investment has been significant. To make Florida No. 1 in the United States for workforce education, we must continue to invest in these worthy institutions.”

The announcement was presented alongside Representative Overdorf and Senator Flores.

“There are thousands of job openings in Florida because businesses cannot find employees with the set of skills they are looking for,” said Representative Toby Overdorf. “Thanks to the excellent research from Florida TaxWatch, we can see that the Florida College System is a national leader compared to other state systems and continues to be a good investment for the State.”

Representative Overdorf was joined by Helios Education Foundation, Florida TaxWatch, and several partners that are helping shape Florida’s economic growth, workforce development, and higher education.

“The findings by Florida TaxWatch should be of particular importance to Florida stakeholders and policymakers because they reinforce why the State’s investment into the Florida College System is important not only to current students but to Florida’s future workforce,” said Charles Hokanson, senior vice president, Florida Community Engagement at Helios Education Foundation. “The Foundation’s mission is to ensure more students, particularly first-generation, minority, and underrepresented students, complete a postsecondary degree. This assessment illustrates the value Florida colleges bring to that mission and to the prosperity of our state.”

Read the full report here.