A recent study has found that Palomar College has a $1 billion economic impact on San Diego County, enough to support more than 10,000 jobs and providing an education leading to higher-paying careers for hundreds of thousands of alumni.

The college’s economic impact is equivalent to the financial boost that San Diego County would receive from hosting the World Series 156 times, the study found.

The study also concluded that Palomar College is a great investment for their students, taxpayers, and society in general, with high value returns on the money invested. Students fare particularly well, with a lifetime return of $6.40 for every dollar they invest in their education – an annual return rate of 21%, far better than the stock market.

The study was conducted by Lightcast, a leading provider of economic impact and labor market data to educational institutions and workforce planners. It was based on data from the 2021-2022 academic year. “This study demonstrates the broad impact that Palomar College has on our students and our community,” said Star Rivera-Lacey, Superintendent/President of Palomar College. “Our students get a high return on their investment in their education and our region reaps the many benefits of a skilled workforce.”

The study found that the $1 billion economic impact of Palomar College supported 10,328 jobs in the region, or one out of every 43 jobs within its service area. It noted that the college promotes economic growth in San Diego County through its direct expenditures and the resulting expenditures of students, alumni, and county businesses.
The study found the following economic impacts:

  • Operations spending: $132.2 million in added income, the equivalent of 1,330 jobs, for the day-to-day operations of the district for facilities, supplies, and professional services.
  • Construction spending: $2.3 million, the equivalent of 25 jobs.
  • Student spending: $23.3 million, the equivalent of 328 jobs, for bringing in students from outside the county and retaining students who would otherwise have left the county.
  • Alumni spending: $857.9 million, the equivalent of 8,555 jobs. As a result of their education, alumni receive higher earnings and increase the productivity of the businesses that employ them.

Lightcast also conducted an investment analysis comparing the amount spent with the return on investment. Students with an associate degree earn about $10,000 more each year than those with a high school diploma, which amounts to $414,100 over a lifetime of earnings.

For the more than 25,000 students who attended Palomar College in 2021-2022, the cumulative higher lifetime earnings for their education is $659.6 million. For every dollar that students spend on their education at Palomar College, they will receive a return of $6.40 in higher future earnings.

Taxpayers also benefit from the higher tax revenue that alumni will pay because of their higher paid jobs. By the end of the working lives of the 2021-2022 students, state and local governments will have collected $229.6 million in added taxes because of their education. For every dollar of public money invested in Palomar College, taxpayers will receive a cumulative value of $1.30 over the course of the students’ working lives.

Society also benefits because those with beter jobs are less likely to need social services or financial assistance. The study found that the social benefits of Palomar College have a value of $3.3 billion, including $2.2 billion in added student income, $885.9 million in added business income, $171.4 million in added income from college activities, and $58.8 million in social savings. The study found that for every dollar invested in Palomar College, the people of California will receive a cumulative value of $11.30 in benefits.

“The results of this study demonstrate that Palomar College creates value from multiple perspectives. The college benefits regional businesses by increasing consumer spending in the region and supplying a steady flow of qualified, trained workers to the workforce,” the researchers concluded. “Palomar College enriches the lives of students by raising their lifetime earnings and helping them achieve their individual potential. Finally, Palomar College benefits society as a whole in California by creating a more prosperous economy and generating a variety of savings through the improved lifestyles of students.”

The study is available at this website.