Front Range Community College Blog

Community Colleges Generate Nearly $6 Billion for Colorado Economy in 2016

Colorado flag with dollar sign

A third-party analysis of the economic impact of the Colorado Community College System (CCCS) reveals $5.8 billion in added income to the state in fiscal year 2015-16, equal to approximately 2.0% of the GSP of Colorado.

Front Range Community College is a member of CCCS.

CCCS colleges’ 138,000 students and 7,776 full-time faculty, adjunct instructors, and staff, along with the colleges’ operations spending contributed over $650 million through living expenses and on items such as housing, groceries, dining out, clothing, and other household and leisure expenses.

“As the primary source of higher education for Colorado residents, our colleges create value in many ways,” said Dr. Nancy McCallin, CCCS president. “We are also employers and buyers of goods and services, and the living expenses of our students and employees benefit local businesses.”

The study was conducted by Emsi, a leading provider of economic impact studies and labor market data to educational institutions, workforce planners, and regional developers in the U.S. and internationally.

“Our investigation discovered benefits created by CCCS colleges that extended to the state and local government through increased tax revenues and public sector savings, as well as, positive return-on-investments to students, taxpayers, and society,” said Hannah Ruffridge, Emsi assistant director.

The following are additional highlights from the report:

  • CCCS colleges’ $5.8 billion in added income is comparable to the entire Transportation & Warehousing industry in the state
  • For every dollar spent by CCCS students, $4.30 is gained in lifetime earnings (14.8% average annual return rate)
  • For every dollar spent by state and local taxpayers for CCCS operations, $5.70 is saved due to added tax revenue and a reduced demand for government-funded services in Colorado (13.5% average annual return rate)

For every dollar spent by society on education provided by CCCS colleges, society will receive a cumulative value of $11.30 in benefits

The full economic impact report is on the CCCS website, along with links to separate reports for each community college in the system that correlate to the specific region.


The Colorado Community College System (CCCS) is the state’s largest system of higher education, serving 138,000 students annually at 13 colleges and 39 locations across Colorado. Our open access mission ensures all Coloradans who aspire to enrich their lives have access to quality higher education opportunities.

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