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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Economist tells how to justify institution’s value

Economist+Kjell+Christophersen+speaks+to+TR+students+on+how+community+colleges+impact+the+U.S.+economy.+%0A%0ABogdan+Sierra+Miranda%2FThe+Collegian
Economist Kjell Christophersen speaks to TR students on how community colleges impact the U.S. economy. Bogdan Sierra Miranda/The Collegian

By Robert Young/ reporter

Economist Kjell Christophersen speaks to TR students on how community colleges impact the U.S. economy. Bogdan Sierra Miranda/The Collegian
Economist Kjell Christophersen speaks to TR students on how community colleges impact the U.S. economy.
Bogdan Sierra Miranda/The Collegian

The nation’s vast number of community colleges is important to the overall gross domestic product of the United States, according an economist speaking on TR Nov. 18.

Kjell Christophersen, founder of Economic Modeling Specialists, has 35 years of experience in international and domestic economics and specializes in economic impact analysis. To date, his company has performed over 1,700 studies.

“I want to bring the economic objective to the forefront,” he said.

Christophersen said his impact studies use four areas that all institutions must do starting with proving the value of the institution, then changing the public perception of education, justifying greater financial support and finally providing a better understanding of the institution as an economic neighbor.

Changing the public perception is “where most colleges have actually failed,” he said. To justify more money allocated to community colleges, the colleges must begin to change the public’s perception.

Christophersen outlined what is considered when conducting the study. The operations impact determines what is added to the region by the income generated from the college’s payroll and purchases.

Students who come from outside the region affect the study by the amount of money they spend on personal expenses such as food and transportation. The final area included in the study is the impact the higher earnings and increased productivity from the institution’s alumni add to the regional workforce, he said.

The biggest untold story in economics, Christophersen said, is that one would not expect a public investment to pay off like a private investment.

However, the numbers show that community colleges, which are considered a public investment, pay off at a higher rate than the stock market. He pointed out that it is 5.4 percent of the U.S. GDP, and the return on investment is higher than most other industries.

“The economics of education is high, and it’s not the area you need to cut,” he said. “If it weren’t for the presence of community colleges in the U.S., the economy would suffer.”

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