A recently-released report shows that Portage College has a major economic impact on Northeastern Alberta and provides significant returns on investment for students, taxpayers and society. Conducted by Idaho-based Economic Modeling Specialists International (Emsi), the report highlights that in 2015-16, the College, students and alumni added $110.2 million in income to the area, equivalent to 2.3% of the region's total gross regional product. The added income directly supported 1,062 jobs in the region.
"For perspective, this means that one out of every 40 jobs in the Portage Service Region is supported by the activities of Portage College, its students, and alumni," highlight the report's authors.
The largest impact is from Portage alumni, who generated $79.2 million in added income and supported 752 jobs in 2015-16. Many College graduates remain in the region after they have completed their studies, supporting local businesses and contributing to the economy. According the College's latest Graduate Survey, 70% of the Class of 2016-17 are living, working and studying in the Portage Service Region.
"The Emsi study clearly confirms the importance of Portage College to the region," said Portage College Interim President and CEO Nancy Broadbent. "We are an integral part of the communities, people and province that we serve."
The study also shows that Portage is an excellent investment for students, society and taxpayers. For every $1 that students invest in their education, they will receive $4.60 back in higher future earnings. This translates into an average annual return of 21.1%.
"This is a favourable return compared, for example, to the less than 1% return per annum that is generally expected from saving money in today's standard bank savings account," note the report's authors in the executive summary.
From a social perspective, for every $1 spent on Portage College, society as a whole will receive $6.80 in benefits, related to added provincial income, fewer demands for income assistance, less crime and increased health and well-being.
For taxpayers, Portage College represents a revenue generator. In 2015-16, taxpayers contributed $27 million to support the College's operations but received $57.8 million from higher lifetime student earnings, increased business outputs and savings from a reduced-demand for social services. This is akin to $2.10 in benefits for every $1 spent.
"This report shows that an investment in Portage College is not just an investment in our students' future but also in the future well-being of our society and strength of our economy," highlighted Broadbent. "The good people of Northeastern Alberta and Portage College are inextricably linked in a partnership that mutually benefits everyone concerned. We are grateful for their continued support."