It’s not just research universities; community colleges too generate income in their communities, sort of. According to an article by Bill Schackner in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

A study released today by Community College of Allegheny County says the school gives the county a strong return on investment, generating nearly $10 in economic impact for every dollar of county funding.

According to the study, the college’s “direct and indirect expenditures had an impact of $147 million in the 2008–09 fiscal year, supporting more than 6,000 jobs in the county.”

The Planning and Institutional Research department at the Community College of Allegheny County created the report, which indicates that the school generated $128 million in revenues in 2008-2009. CCAC, in Pittsburgh, Penn. educates some 65,000 people.

This study comes as a welcome contrast to the general perception of higher education in Pittsburgh. Late last year, the mayor of Pittsburgh, Luke Ravenstahl, tried to portray college students as parasites, people who took money out of the city. He threatening to tax the students saying that,

Our colleges and universities are giving less and less while they increase tuition and executive pay…. The cost to provide public safety and public works services continues to increase, but our revenue continues to decrease.

Where did that $128 million go, anyway? Eventually the mayor reached a compromise with the city’s major universities; they contributed millions to the city to prevent Pittsburgh from leveling the tax.

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Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer