The writer is Dr. Daniel P. Larson, president of Cayuga Community College, with campuses in Auburn and Fulton, N.Y.
As taxpayers tighten their fiscal belts and become increasingly vigilant about government spending, agencies at local, state, and national levels keenly feel the pressure to review their operations and to assess their return on investment. A sluggish economy often leads government to cut back in discretionary or non-essential areas like public parks, repairs and maintenance, or community grants – services that the public may desire because of their immediate impact, but which generally do not generate large financial returns.
It was clear at a recent meeting where I spoke about the College that people do not understand the direct and indirect return the community receives on every dollar invested in Cayuga Community College. Shortly after I arrived at Cayuga in August 2007, the College commissioned Economic Modeling Specialists to conduct an analysis of our economic impact on the region. The findings indicate that the College out-performs a solid stock market portfolio, which experts say hovers around a 10% return annually. State and local governments receive a direct rate of return of 12% on their investment in the College through increased revenue and avoided social costs. Continue reading