Contact: Zora Mulligan
MCCA Executive Director
(573) 230-9318 (mobile)
(573) 634-8787 (office)
Jefferson City, Missouri – February 20, 2013. (For Immediate Release)—Students, trustees, employees, and other supporters of Missouri’s community colleges rallied at the Missouri State Capitol on February 20. “Rally Day” provided an opportunity for those attending to meet with legislators and state officials and to urge support of Missouri’s community colleges.
“Legislators understand the importance of community colleges to the vitality of the state,” said Zora Mulligan, executive director of the Missouri Community College Association. “Rally Day will allow those legislators to hear directly how our institutions have literally changed individual lives and made a difference in the communities they represent.”
Sen. David Pearce (pictured left) addressed the audience, saying, “Community colleges provide a skilled workforce and work with employers to meet that demand. I applaud our community colleges for the positive impact they are making for our state.”
Rep. Kathryn Swan (pictured right) addressed the audience, saying, “Your ‘community’ extends well beyond your taxing district and your service area, even beyond our state, in your role of preparing the current and future workforce. Thank you for your mission and future success as we work together to keep our communities in our colleges and our colleges in our communities.”
Legislative priorities for community colleges this year include maintaining funding for operations, continuing to fund the A+ scholarship program, identifying sources of funding for capital projects, enhancing workforce competitiveness through training programs, and maintaining a strong nursing workforce.
Rally Day participants provided legislators with information about the impact of community colleges in their own lives and communities, as well as the economic impact of community colleges around the state. Some of the statistics they shared included:
- Missouri has 12 community college districts serving more than 106,000 students taking classes for college credit and 126,000 non-credit students.
- Students attending community colleges overwhelmingly tend to stay in the state to live and work. MCCA estimates that 93 percent of community college students in the state will stay in Missouri.
- A community college education pays strong dividends to the state and to individual students. Taxpayers see a rate of return of 6.7% on their investment in Missouri’s community colleges.
- Students who obtain an associate degree earn an average of $11,000 more each year than those who hold only a high school diploma.
- The added income generated by Missouri’s community colleges contributes approximately $330 million in income to the state’s economy each year, according to MCCA.
- Taking a longer view, over the past 30 years it is estimated that the contributions of a community college educated workforce have translated into $4.7 billion in added state income, due primarily to higher earnings and increased business output.
In addition to programs of study intended to allow a student to transfer to a four-year institution or go directly into a career or technical field, community colleges provide a wealth of training for the state’s businesses and industries.