Michael Ash, UMass Amherst Economics Professor and Chair, and Shantel Palacio ’12 CPPA, presented their report, Economic Impact of Investment in Public Higher Education in Massachusetts: Short-Run Employment Stimulus, Long-Run Public Returns, to the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Higher Education on Thursday. Their research finds important short- and long-term economic impacts of investing in public education.
According to Ash, investing $800 million in public higher education can create over 13,000 jobs, more jobs than casinos, health care and tax cuts can generate with the same amount of money. The authors also find that public higher education offers a very high return on investment. According to Ash, if the state spends $50,000 on a 4-year degree, the degree would pay back $100,000 because the person is more likely to land a high quality job, contribute more in taxes and is less likely to apply for welfare or public health benefits.
“What makes this study different and important,” according to Ash “is that we quantify the full range of economic benefits and show that investment in public higher education is more productive in both the short and long term than other kinds of state policies, such as tax cuts.”