March 1, 2023
Story by Maggie Harris
Barton Community College has been providing affordable and accessible higher education to Barton County for over 50 years, and thanks to a collaborative study with the Docking Institute at Fort Hays State University the College has been able to further confirm the economic benefit of the college to the county.
The College’s Institutional Effectiveness Department set a goal to make the college's return on investment (ROI) for the county easy to understand and simple as one number. The results of their work show that for every $1 in taxes, Barton County residents enjoy a return of $2.05 brought into the local economy.
Based on the study, the College received $10 million in taxes from Barton County over a three-year average. In return the College spent an average of $20.6 million in Barton County, this includes purchases by the College and wages to employees. This generates a rate of return of 205 percent and a direct impact of $2.05 on Barton County’s economy.
Another common question is how much of the college is funded by county taxes, and the answer is that they account for one-third of the college’s total revenue, at about 35 percent. About 44 percent comes from student tuition and fees. Another 17 percent comes from state aid, with less than five percent coming from grants and other sources.
This study was stage one of a two-stage plan to measure and report on Barton Community College’s economic impact. Stage two will be completed later this spring with a deeper look at updated numbers. The study was conducted by Barton’s Institutional Research staff and was corroborated and certified by the Docking Institute through Fort Hays State University, which as an unbiased third party, verified that the report was acceptable and accurate.