Red Deer College adds millions to economy, study says

  • Feb. 26, 2014 6:12 p.m.

A new study reveals the positive impact that Red Deer College has on the regional economy, generating huge value in return for the investments made by students, taxpayers and society as a whole.

In 2011-12, RDC and its students added $327.4 million in income to Central Alberta’s economy.

“This study makes a strong case that an investment in education is a wise investment,” says Shelley Ralston, chair of RDC’s board of governors.

“Not only does post-secondary education pave the way for a higher quality of life for students creating great career opportunities, it also provides the much needed skilled workforce our province needs to thrive and remain competitive globally.”

In return for the investment made towards their education, students who attend RDC will earn higher wages that will continue to grow over their lifetimes.

Learners who complete a two-year diploma at RDC will earn $511,102 more over the course of their careers in the Central Alberta region than someone with a high school diploma, says the report.

Students directly impact the local economy by spending their own earnings or the earnings of their families on tuition, fees, books and supplies to a total of $23.1 million. Approximately 789 students relocated to Central Alberta to study at RDC from other regions in Canada and other countries in 2011-12, spending $3.2 million in our region.

Having a comprehensive learning institution is good for the City of Red Deer and surrounding communities.

Beyond increasing the earning potential for students and enhancing their employability, RDC also is a major employer and economic contributor.

The College employed 1,450 faculty and staff, equivalent to 664 full-time employees, and added $71.3 million to the regional economy through payroll and expenses.

Approximately 95% of students remain in Alberta upon completing their education at RDC, a fact that significantly benefits taxpayers.

Over the course of their working lives, the Alberta government will collect an additional $132.6 million in higher tax receipts from RDC graduates.

Increased tax revenue is not the only way taxpayers save.

The social impact that post-secondary education has on central Alberta and the province is also noteworthy.

RDC students who achieve a higher level of education are statistically less likely to have poor health habits, commit crimes or to require employment-related government assistance.

As a result, taxpayers in Alberta will save $3.9 million in costs related to health, crime and income assistance over the students’ working lives.

The thousands of former students who are currently working in the region, adding in-demand skills learned through their studies, has enormous impact on businesses. The effect RDC students had on central Alberta’s economy amounted to $252.9 million in added income in 2011-12.

“We thrive as an institution because of the partnerships we have with the communities of central Alberta, with government, business and industry,” notes Joel Ward, president and CEO of RDC. “We’re pleased that we can show the value our students receive from their education and the return on investment for our communities.

“This study makes a compelling case that RDC is an essential economic contributor to our region.”