Economic Impact Study: Clark College generates $507.3 million for region

For Immediate Release
March 21, 2017
For additional information:
Chato Hazelbaker, Chief Communications Officer


Report shows Clark is a smart investment for students, businesses and the community


VANCOUVER, WA – A recent study has found that Clark College’s economic impact in the region amounted to $507.3 million in fiscal year 2014-2015, a figure comprising the college’s operations and payroll, combined with the impact of student and alumni spending within Southwest Washington. This economic value translates into 9,595 jobs and approximately 2.9 percent of the total gross regional product.

The study, conducted by Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI), demonstrates how Clark College contributes to a range of industries in Clark, Skamania, and Klickitat counties; supports local businesses; and benefits the local community as a whole from an expanded economy and improved quality of life. The benefits created by Clark even extend to the state and local government through increased tax revenues and public-sector savings.

“This report confirmed what educators and students in the community already know: that Clark is an excellent investment for our students, our region, and our economy,” said Clark College President Bob Knight. “We are committed to helping Southwest Washington thrive, and we are grateful for every opportunity to partner with businesses to develop the local workforce and help students succeed.”

For Clark students, the average annual rate of return on their educational investment is 10.9 percent, a higher figure than an investment in rental properties or the 10-year average annual rate of return in the U.S. stock market, according to the study. The study also finds that the average Clark graduate with an associate degree increases their earning potential up to 25.6 percent compared to someone with a high school diploma.

Benefits extend to local taxpayers as well. “A $2.10 return on every dollar invested means taxpayer money is being spent wisely,” said Clark College Board of Trustees member Jack Burkman. “Clark generates far more in tax revenue than it receives.”

In addition to the positive economic impact and cost-benefit ratios, the report found that the presence of Clark College in the community leads to broader societal benefits including reduced crime, lower unemployment, and increased health and well-being across the state, all of which contribute to a more prosperous economy.

At the state level, Washington’s 34 community and technical colleges added $20.5 billion to the state economy in 2014-2015, representing 321,549 jobs, according to EMSI’s impact study for the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges.

To view a summary of the EMSI study, a PDF is available online at

About Clark College

Located in Vancouver’s Central Park and serving up to 13,000 students per quarter, Clark College is Washington state’s second-largest single-campus, for-credit community college. The college currently offers classes at two satellite locations: one on the Washington State University Vancouver campus and one in the Columbia Tech Center in East Vancouver. Additionally, its Economic & Community Development program is housed in the Columbia Bank building in downtown Vancouver.