Study Details Positive Impact of SIC on Local Economy --SIC grads average $708,000 more lifetime earnings--

November 20, 2014

For more than fifty years Southeastern Illinois College has sought to improve the lives of its students through education. Whether it be by certificate, degree or investitures in the community, SIC has significantly and positively improved the economic standing of the communities served.

A recent Economic Impact Study (EIS) released by the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) confirmed the extensive economic influence that SIC has in the region.

The economic impacts of Illinois community colleges were identified through employee-level data, operations expenditures and capital expenditures from ICCB's Centralized Data System and annual ICCB financial submissions.

The EIS reports that as a major employer and business entity, SIC generates millions of dollars in local sales and wages. The total economic impact of SIC on the regional economy in fiscal year (FY) 2012 was estimated at $8.5 million and 204 jobs with a total payroll of almost $5.4 million and a reported $6 million in operating capital expenditures.

SIC President Dr. Jonah Rice recognizes that the college has a huge impact on local business and industry beyond just being one of the major employers in the region.

“SIC is a vital part of the community it serves,” said Rice. “We are intertwined in so many ways with our area, from working with small businesses, to developing training for the energy market, to graduating medical professionals for our hospitals, to providing top shelf transfer education to a senior institution, and working with our high schools on dual credit.”

From an individual standpoint, the EIS makes it clear that an education at SIC increases earnings for workers. By completing courses, students gain skills that contribute to higher earnings and graduates enjoy even higher returns.

For instance, a 25-year-old SIC program graduate can expect a total lifetime earnings gain of almost $708,000. This is a 54 percent increase over the average total lifetime earnings of those not completing a community college program. The average lifetime gain for the average graduate in the state of Illinois came in about 20 percent lower at $570,000.

On average, all students who completed their SIC education in fiscal year (FY) 2011 saw a $6,453 increase in earnings over their pre-enrollment wages.
“In tough times, community colleges are even more important for obtaining new skills for a new future,” said Rice. “A certificate or degree really pays for itself down the road.”

To begin assessing the economic impact of an SIC student, it must be realized that education at a community college is an investment.

The EIS states that SIC graduates generate millions of dollars in local, state, and federal tax revenues. It is estimated that $57.2 million in federal taxes were generated between 2003 and 2012 by students who attended SIC in 2002. Of the estimated $17.4 million in state tax dollars generated by these students, a similar percentage or $2.2 million would have been generated by 2002 completers.

SIC is one of 39 college districts in the state that play a vital role in the educational and workforce preparation of the individuals and communities served. SIC provides high-quality, accessible, and cost-effective educational opportunities for residents in a seven county area in southeastern Illinois that includes all or portions of Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Johnson, Pope, Saline and White counties.

Founded in 1960, SIC offers academic and vocational-technical instruction in a wide variety of associate degree, transfer or certificate programs of study as well as adult continuing education programs that serve as a gateway to higher education for many community residents, employers and K-12 students. Courses are offered on the main campus in Harrisburg as well as the David L. Stanley White County Center in Carmi and the Golconda Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center.

For further information, including a copy of the full report, visit