Economic Contribution of South Plains College

In 2008, South Plains College commissioned Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI) to conduct a study of the socioeconomic contribution of South Plains College to the service area economy. The basis of the study was to determine the measurable benefits of higher education, whether education is a worthwhile public investment, if students can increase their earning potential by taking college courses, and who benefits most from higher education - students or the general public.

The following are highlights from the results of the study.

  • South Plains College stimulates the local economy by $240.2 million in annual income, roughly 2.3% of the area's total annual income.
  • Students who leave SPC with an associate degree increase their lifetime earning potential by $425,700 more than a student with just a high school diploma or GED.
  • SPC provides a benefit-to-costs ratio of 14.0. That is to say that every dollar of state or local tax money invested in SPC will have a present value of $14 over the next 30 years.
  • SPC skills embodied in the regional workforce where former students are employed increase local income by $167.2 million annually. Associated indirect effects increase income by another $36.8 million.
  • SPC's past and present activities in the workforce account for $159.7 million in labor income (i.e. wages, salaries, and benefits) and $80.5 million in property income (i.e. dividends, interest and rent) in the region's current economy.
  • It is estimated that the local workforce embodies more than 682,000 credit hours of past and present SPC training.
  • State and local governments avoid $2.1 million annually in social costs as a result of improved health, reduced crime and reduced welfare and unemployment attributed to higher education.
  • Every dollar invested in the College by state and local taxpayers produces a real money annual return of 8 percent in the form of higher tax revenues and avoided social costs attributable to education.
  • SPC students enjoy an attractive 15.4 percent rate of return on their educational investment at the college and recover all costs, including foregone wages while attending SPC, in 10 years.
  • For every $1 a student invests in an SPC education, he or she will receive a cumulative of $5.40 in higher future earnings over the next 30 years.

The study examined the College's impact on the Hockley and Lubbock County economies based on 2006-2007 student, academic and financial data from the College, industry and employment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, earnings and demographic data from the U.S. Census Bureau, and a variety of studies and surveys relating education to social behavior.

Complete results of the study can be downloaded in PDF format from the links below. Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view these documents.

For more information, contact the Office of Institutional Advancement at (806) 716-2218.

The Economic Contribution of South Plains College
Analysis of Investment Effectiveness and Economic Growth

Executive Summary

Volume I: Main Report

Volume II: Detailed Results by Entry Level of Education, Gender and Ethnicity

County-by-County Analysis of South Plains College

Economic Impact Fact Sheets (Single sheet overviews of the study results)

SPC Economic Impact: Overview Fact Sheet

SPC Economic Impact: Broad & Narrow Perspectives

SPC Economic Impact: Student Perspective

SPC Economic Impact: Business Perspective

SPC Economic Impact: Social Benefits Perspective

SPC Economic Impact: Taxpayer Perspective

EMSI is a leading provide of socioeconomic impact and strategic planning tools to institutions of higher education in the U.S. and Canada. You can visit them at for more information.