GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado - A new economic impact analysis of Colorado Mountain College's fiscal influence in its six-county district shows that the college "boosts [the] regional economy more than $300 million annually," according to a statement from the school's administration.
The study, prepared last fall by the Appleseed consulting firm in New York, "shows that Colorado Mountain College is bucking the trends of most other colleges by keeping tuition low, making higher education accessible and working closely with local businesses and community partners," according to a summary of the Appleseed analysis by Debbie Crawford, public information officer for the college district.
According to Crawford, the analysis covered such topics as direct employment at the college; jobs with companies that do business with the college; and the effect of spending in the district by CMC's employees, students, contractors and vendors.
Appleseed's analysts concluded that the college, directly or indirectly, generates as many as 1,200 full-time-equivalent (FTE) jobs. That translates to $46 million in earnings, which is part of $65 million in "economic output" that the college generates in the nine counties served by the district.
Those counties include Garfield, Eagle, Pitkin, Jackson, Lake, Summit, Chaffee and Routt, covering 12,000 square miles and 11 locations where CMC campuses and facilities operate.
According to the college's website (www.coloradomtn.edu), the college is host to more than 23,000 students every year, taught by a faculty that includes 97 full-time instructors.
The website claims that, for every tax dollar paid into the college system, "CMC ultimately returns $6.42 to the local economies in its district service area," based on a 2007 study on the college district's long-term economic impacts.
"Our students, employees and vendors reinvest tuition, and salaries and revenues from the work they do on behalf of the college," said Dr. Charles R. Dassance, interim president of the college. "This impact is in addition to the ways we prepare our students and graduates to earn better salaries, and how we help to provide a better-educated workforce that increases the economic vitality of our local businesses."
Locally, the college's importance to the region's economic health was acknowledged by the head of the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association.
"Colorado Mountain College's investment in communities transcends education, and the college is integral to our city and every city in the district the college serves," said chamber CEO Marianne Virgili. "Needless to say, the addition of four-year degrees and continued excellence in workforce development and training make CMC part of the fabric of Western Slope communities."