Increasing college-bound and graduation rates in Arizona could inject more than $660,000 per college graduate back into the state’s economy, according to a recent College Success Arizona report, released Wednesday.

The research found by equalizing college-going rates, Arizona could gain more than $2.3 Billion per graduating class.

“Intuitively, we understood that increasing educational attainment rates would have a positive impact on the economy, but we had no idea the numbers were this compelling,” said Rich Nickel, president and CEO of College Success Arizona. “By making just moderate gains in attainment, Arizona will not only enjoy billions of dollars of greater incomes and tax revenue, but will also spend less on healthcare, welfare programs and prisons. This combination of fiscal gains and social savings is truly  incredible.”

This report shows economic gains Arizona could benefit from if the state were to take action on four strategic opportunities to increase attainment, according to the report.

The opportunities include:

  • Equalizing college-going rates by race
  • Meeting the national average for attainment leading to a 10% increase in the state’s yearly economic activity
  • Meeting future labor market needs leading to a 12% increase in yearly economic activity
  • Meeting peer state attainment rates. In all cases, reaching any of these individual opportunities could potentially double Arizona’s current annual economic growth rate.

“Increased educational attainment will undoubtedly lead to an increase in economic growth and enhance our ability to attract the types of companies who will further our economic sustainability,” said Chris Camacho, President and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. “Further education reforms will allow us to take advantage of economic opportunities before us, ensuring the prosperity of all Arizonans.”

This brief is the second in a series of non-partisan and evidence-based policy briefs and reports that will be produced by College Success Arizona over the next year.

The first report focused on research that found a gap between postsecondary certificate and degree holders and projected workforce requirements.

Future reports will focus on understanding and overcoming barriers to higher education success and highlighting personal success stories of those that have overcome obstacles to reach their postsecondary goals.