YUMA, Ariz. – A study done by College Success Arizona says that if Arizona increase the number of adults with post secondary schooling, the state could see billions of dollars added to the economy annually.
“Look at what happens if we meet the national average for instance we could produce a 10% increase in economic activity annually,” CEO of College Success Arizona Rich Nickel said.
He says that would more than double the annual growth rate of Arizona’s gross domestic product.
Besides that, one school official says it would help Arizonans save in other ways.
“For those of us that pay into the system. We see lower costs in health care, wealth fare, incarceration and criminal justice issues,” Arizona Western College Public Information Officer Lori Stofft said.
The study also says that increasing Latino graduates can have a significant impact on the economy. That’s because the Latino population in Arizona has been on the rise.
So we asked several college students if they noticed more Latinos enrolled in college.
“I’m seeing a lot of minorities going straight into college. Most of my friends from high school were first generation Latinos going into college from migrant families,” college student Angel Torres said.
“I see more, well since I came from Hawaii I think I’ve seen more,” college student David Luafatasaga said.
If more Arizona Latinos earned college degrees the study says the Grand Canyon state would gain more than $2.3 billion in social benefits over the lifetime of each graduating class.
“Gosh I never really put much thought into it but hearing that amount it makes a whole bunch of a difference,” student Valeria Cortez said.
The study says by 2030 Arizona’s Latino population will rise to 4.3 million compared to the white population that’s estimated to be only 800,000 more.
Those numbers Nickel says he hopes community leaders will take notice of.
“We are talking with education and community leaders and also political leaders about how we might move this forward,” Nickel said.
He says improving Arizona’s K-12 education along with providing more funding to low-income students are some of the ways we can increase the number of adults with college degrees.