Dr. Shaeffer Shares Economic Impact News


Combined with a continued surge in enrollment

by Dr. Jim Shaeffer, President

At your Eastern Shore Community College, we shine the brightest when our students succeed. We “hang our hat” on the tangible success stories that you see and hear in the community.  That vibrant picture of students and alumni succeeding now includes current economic impact data that illustrate yet another level of the school’s role and importance on our Eastern Shore.

ESCC along with all of the 22 other colleges in the Virginia Community College System, were the subject of an economic impact study conducted for fiscal year 2021-2022 by Lightcast, a global leader in market analytics.

From a statewide perspective, the impact of the Virginia Community College System is indisputable with the combined spending of operations, construction, and student spending, together with the enhanced productivity of its alumni, generating $11.6 billion in added income for the Virginia economy. This equals approximately 1.8% of the total gross state product (GSP) of Virginia and is equivalent to supporting 135,119 jobs across the Commonwealth and translated into one out of every 41 jobs in Virginia being supported by the activities of VCCS and its students. 

Virginia taxpayers provided $605.5 million of state and local funding to VCCS in FY 2021-22. In return, taxpayers receive an estimated present value of $1.5 billion in added tax revenue stemming from the students’ higher lifetime earnings and the increased output of businesses. Savings to the public sector add another estimated $118.8 million in benefits due to a reduced demand for government-funded social services in Virginia given the success of VCCS graduates.

For every tax dollar spent educating students attending VCCS, taxpayers receive an average of $2.70 in return throughout the students’ working lives. In other words, taxpayers receive an annual rate of return of 6.9% for a total of $1.6 billion in taxpayer benefits.

For Your Eastern Shore Community College, the story is equally as impressive.  ESCC added $34.9 million in income to the Eastern Shore of Virginia economy during the analysis year which is approximately 1.3% of the total gross regional product (GRP) of the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

In addition, ESCC’s economic impact supported 619 regional jobs, or in other words, one out of every 43 jobs in the Eastern Shore of Virginia are supported by the activities of ESCC and its students.

State and local funding for ESCC amounts to $4.5 million and in turn, total taxpayer benefits amount to $5.5 million, the present value sum of the added tax revenue and public sector savings. These benefits and costs yield a benefit-cost ratio of 1.2. This means that for every dollar of public money invested in ESCC in FY 2021-22, taxpayers will receive a cumulative present value of $1.20 throughout the students’ working lives. The average annual internal rate of return for taxpayers is 1.4%, which compares favorably to other long-term investments in the public sector.

And these benefits to our community will only continue to grow in the future. The average ESCC associate degree graduate from FY 2021-22 will see annual earnings that are $9,800 higher yearly than a person with a high school diploma or equivalent working in Virginia. Over a working lifetime, the benefits of the associate degree over a high school diploma will amount to an undiscounted value of $382.2 thousand in higher earnings per graduate. 

With the college’s continual upward climb in enrollment, we can anticipate future positive impacts.  As of February 12, 2024, our FTE is 414 as compared to 342 for Spring 2023.  This is a 20.98% increase. Our headcount is also up at 690 as compared to 585 in Spring 2023, a 17.95% increase.  We lead the VCCS in the percentage increase in both FTE and headcount.  

In addition, more great news about our workforce FastForward enrollments, for this academic year we have 133 enrollments as compared to 111 at this time last year.  This is a 19.82% increase as compared to the overall increase in the VCCS of 16.66%

Your Eastern Shore Community College is proud and excited to be in a position to continue to grow in our role of providing life-changing programs that are not only serving our students in major ways but also serving our Eastern Shore with meaningful contributions to our local economy.