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What's the Value of Higher Ed?

Higher Ed Advances and Enriches Communities

America’s colleges and universities contribute to the vibrancy and stability of their communities in ways big and small. Their impact is vast, and their value is immense. And as advocates for higher education, it’s important to share this news.

Colleges and universities drive local economies. With 20 million enrolled students, almost four million employees, and $1 trillion in annual economic activity, U.S. colleges and universities make a significant contribution to America’s economy. By comparison, federal, state, and local investments in higher education total $160 billion.

Colleges and universities employ their neighbors. Universities and university hospitals are the largest private employers in 13 states. Nationwide, colleges and universities are major employers within their cities and throughout their regions. Many schools also make important contributions by incubating new businesses and sustaining businesses with a skilled workforce.

Colleges and universities enrich their communities. Higher education institutions enhance the quality of life by providing residents with exceptional access to museums, library collections, distinguished speakers, sporting events, and world-class performances in the arts, dance, and theater.

Colleges and universities serve their communities. In 2015, more than three million undergrads volunteered in their communities, providing a total of 286 million hours of service at a collective market value of almost $7 billion. Today’s colleges and universities regularly connect students, faculty, and staff with service projects that make an impact far beyond their campus boundaries.

Colleges and universities work to advance their communities. Colleges and universities work to address the most pressing challenges in their regions, often investing money and manpower in research projects that tackle hard-hitting issues like public safety and environmental protection.

Use these resources to craft messages, op-eds, and remarks to share with colleagues, campus constituents, the media, and other audiences. Also, follow @AGBGuardians and visit the Guardians homepage for other useful information on higher ed's return on investment.

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