Business Services

Socioeconomic Impact Study

One of the primary missions of the California Community Colleges is to advance California's economic growth and global competitiveness through education, training, and services that contribute to continuous work force improvement. One way to measure our value and impact is to analyze how we spend public taxpayer dollars on students and in the economy, and determine the return on investment. The task force commissioned a socioeconomic impact report from the Orange County Business Council to measure the sociological and economic impacts of community colleges in Orange County. The study underscores our significant contributions to Orange County.

Community college graduates earn $387,000 more in a lifetime than high school graduates and $20,000 more per year than those without a high school diploma. They are healthier, more productive members of society, saving the county $70 million per year in social benefits. After college, 73% of graduates will stay in the region, contributing to economic growth and stability. Students receive a 17.4% return on their investment of time and money.

Orange County community college operations enhance the regional economy by over $1.6 billion annually and construction programs will generate approximately $2 billion in regional economic impact over the next 10 years. Community colleges are the county’s fourth largest employer.

South Orange County taxpayers receive a 15.3% return on their investment in community colleges, well above the 4% normally received from government organizations, creating a surplus to fund other state and local programs. For every dollar invested in Orange County community colleges, there is a return of $4.78 into the local economy.

Our colleges touch every aspect of life in Orange County, enriching lives and earning power and driving the economy forward. If our colleges did not exist, taxes would have to be raised to offset the contributions in economic, quality of life, and social benefits. An investment in education is an investment in the economy and we really do make a positive impact.


Summary Report: South Orange County Community College District

Infographic – Orange County’s Community Colleges: A Great Investment (1 page)

Main Report: The Socioeconomic Benefits Generated by Orange County’s Community Colleges (46 pages)