Study reveals $179 million economic impact by FDTC

By Melissa Rollins, Editor,

Florence-Darlington Technical College makes a substantial difference when it comes to the cost of tuition and the amount of money a student pays to take basic college courses. A study shared during a recent meeting of the Florence-Darlington County Commission for Technical Education shows that the college also has a substantial impact on the local economy.

The study, which reflects the 2015-2016 fiscal year, was done by outside firm Emsi who conducts similar studies across the country. The study shows that the impact FDTC makes on the local economy is $179 million in added income or supporting roughly 3, 257 jobs. Those jobs come in the form of college staff and faculty as well as staff for local grocery stores, restaurants, autobody shops and other service facilities that are used by staff and students.

Of that $179 million, $33.8 million of that added income is specifically from FDTC’s payroll and day-to-day spending. Added income for students comes in at $11.2 million of that total income impact. Alumni account for the final piece of the puzzle with more than $134 million in added income.

One aspect of interest mentioned by Suzanne Kopan Sakwa when presenting the study via conference call was the fact that FDTC brings students in from outside the county who would likely never have a reason to visit otherwise. Those students shop in the FDTC service area, bolstering those economies.

The study shows that in the FDTC service area, a student with an associate degree earns over $10,000 more at their career midpoint than someone with only a high school diploma. The study shows that on average high school graduates in the service area will make around $28,000 a year versus someone who pursued higher education and earned a bachelor’s degree, who could potentially earn around $52,000.

For every dollar spent by an FDTC student, they receive a $5 return in lifetime earnings. South Carolina taxpayers receive an even higher return at $7.40 in added taxes and public sector savings per $1 invested. While not as high, for every dollar invested local taxpayers are seeing a $4.50 return in added taxes and public sector savings.

Several commission members said that they knew the importance of higher education but that this study shows that value all the more clearly.

“We get a lot done with our dollar,” Joseph Griffin said. “Everyone has a chance at Tech and that is a lot to be proud of.”
In the year of the study, FDTC had 8, 214 credit students, 3,158 non-credit students and 600 employees.

Author: Duane Childers

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