ISTC Economic Impact Study

Students and alumni of colleges within the Alabama Community College System add $6.6 billion to Alabama’s economy, supporting one out of every 27 jobs in the state, according to an economic impact report released Monday.

The independent, 102-page report by Lightcast estimates the Alabama Community College System directly impacts 98,923 jobs in the state, representing about 2.7% of Alabama’s gross state product. Additionally, taxpayers see a net benefit of $1.1 billion in added tax revenue from students’ higher lifetime earnings and increased output to businesses.

J.F. Ingram State Technical College participated in this study to determine the impact the College has on the state.

“Correctional education is proven to reduce recidivism and save tax payers dollars,” said ISTC President Annette Funderburk. “Those who receive correctional education are 13 percent more likely to gain employment post-release than those who do not, saving Alabama taxpayers $82 a day per person who gain employment rather than returning to prison.

Among the report’s highlights:

  • The net impact of the college’s operations spending added $11.4 million in income to the state economy in FY 2020-21.
  • For every dollar of public money invested in ISTC, taxpayers will receive $1.70 in return, over the course of students’ working lives. The average annual rate of return for taxpayers is 3.5%.
  • Taxpayers provided ISTC with $12.3 million of funding in FY 2020-21. In return, they will benefit from added tax revenue, stemming from students’ higher lifetime earnings and increased business output, amounting to $18.4 million. A reduced demand for government-funded services in Alabama will add another $1.9 million in benefits to taxpayers.
  • In FY 2020-21, Alabama invested $14 million to support ISTC. In turn, the Alabama economy will grow by $215 million, over the course of students’ working lives. Society will also benefit from $4.9 million of public and private sector savings.
  • For every dollar invested in ISTC in FY 2020-21, people in Alabama will receive $15.70 in return, for as long as ISTC’s FY 2020-21 students remain active in the state workforce.

Lightcast, a global leader in labor market analytics for colleges and universities, analyzed data using FY2020-21 academic and financial reports from Alabama’s community and technical colleges, as well industry and employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Census Bureau.

“Our legacy centers on helping people develop the skills they need to help build the framework of our state’s economy, and the data this report provides proves we are on a forward path of excellence in that pursuit,” said Jimmy H. Baker, Chancellor of the Alabama Community College System.

“Residents are receiving a strong return on investment when they invest in training at one of our colleges – whether through an adult education program or rapid skills training program, or through a rigorous certification or academic transfer program that allows them to move toward completing a bachelor’s degree. And, they’re using that training to make a difference right here in Alabama.”


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