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Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

Texas Community Colleges:Alamo Region

Public community colleges serve a vital role in our state’s economy by training our workforce and preparing students for further academic study. Created specifically to expand access to higher education, they’re also notable for filling the specific educational and vocational needs of their service areas.

Regional Overview

The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts divides the state into 12 economic regions. The Alamo economic region — 19 counties covering about 18,000 square miles in south central Texas — has two community college districts: Alamo Colleges District and Victoria College. The region is home to almost 2.8 million people, about 10 percent of the state’s population.

Regional Economic Impact

In 2020, the Comptroller’s office requested financial data from Texas’ 50 community college districts and conducted statewide and regional studies of their economic impact. Our analysis predated the COVID-19 crisis and the economic impacts that followed. The Alamo region’s two community college districts reported revenues of more than $531.9 million in fiscal 2018, which produced an additional $284.3 million in indirect and induced economic activity for a total impact of $816.2 million annually. More than 7,000 jobs are supported by the region’s community college spending. Under normal economic conditions, every dollar spent by community colleges produces an additional 53 cents of economic activity, while every dollar spent on compensation produces an additional 25 cents of total income to the state economy (Exhibit 1).

Exhibit 1 Estimated Economic Impact of the Alamo Region’s Community Colleges, 2019

Estimated Economic Impact of the Alamo Region’s Community Colleges, 2019
Indicator Direct Indirect Induced Total Total Multiplier
Employment 5,544 329 1,180 7,052 1.27
Output $531.9 million $71.6 million $212.7 million $816.2 million 1.53
Compensation $324.5 million $19.1 million $63.1 million $406.8 million 1.25

Output refers to the intermediate and final economic values of goods and services. Induced impact refers to the jobs, sales/output and compensation created when new employees spend their wages at local establishments. Figures may not sum due to rounding.

Sources: JobsEQ, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and Texas community colleges


Our model represents a conservative estimate. Other studies, including one conducted by this agency in 2008 and another by Emsi in 2015, have applied a broader view of the economic ripple effects of a community college education and found considerably greater impact.

Employment and Wages

In general, the region’s restaurant industry, health care and other personal care professions and construction have seen the highest job growth in the last five years. The Alamo Region continues to see an increase in demand for oil and gas extraction workers despite the recent downturn in those industries. Between 2014 and 2019, the region’s food preparation industry added nearly 11,000 jobs in the region, while its health care and social assistance industries added almost 10,000 jobs.

The region’s most significant occupations are shown in Exhibits 2 and 3, by both location quotient (which measures an industry’s proportionate concentration in a region versus its concentration in the U.S. as a whole) and by numeric growth during the last five years.

Exhibit 2 Top Occupations in the Alamo Region by Location Quotient, 2014-2019

Top Occupations in the Alamo Region by Location Quotient, 2014-2019
Occupation Number Employed Average Annual Wages LQ Number Unemployed Unemployment Rate Five-Year Employment Change
Extraction Workers 6,003 $42,300 3.33 291 4.5% 235
Plant and System Operators 3,495 $54,600 1.41 22 0.6% 442
Fishing and Hunting Workers 239 $15,100 1.37 18 7.1% 21
Helpers, Construction Trades 2,499 $30,800 1.3 200 7.4% -114
Supervisors of Construction and Extraction Workers 6,823 $63,000 1.29 187 2.6% 735

Figures may not sum due to rounding. Data are as of Q3 2019 except for wage data, which represent covered employment in 2018.

Source: JobsEQ


Exhibit 3 Top Occupations in the Alamo Region by Numeric Growth, 2014-2019

Top Occupations in the Alamo Region by Numeric Growth, 2014-2019
Occupation Number Employed Average Annual Wages LQ Number Unemployed Unemployment Rate Five-Year Employment Change
Food and Beverage Serving Workers 74,566 $21,600 1.22 4,089 5.2% 10,509
Other Personal Care and Service Workers 37,291 $21,600 1.07 1,531 4.0% 9,662
Construction Trades Workers 50,674 $39,000 1.13 2,677 5.0% 6,256
Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners 38,664 $70,500 0.91 906 2.4% 6,001
Business Operations Specialists 35,092 $29,400 0.87 2,060 5.5% 5,861

Figures may not sum due to rounding. Data are as of Q3 2019 except wage data, which are for covered employment in 2018.

Source: JobsEQ


Wages by Educational Attainment

Community colleges deliver a particularly good return on investments of time and tuition. In the Alamo region, workers with some college or associate degrees and with stable jobs — defined as those employed with the same firm throughout a calendar quarter — earn an average of $5,033 more annually than high school graduates (Exhibit 4).

Exhibit 4 Average Annual Earnings by Educational Attainment, Alamo Region and Texas, 2018

Average Annual Earnings by Educational Attainment, Alamo Region and Texas, 2018
Educational Attainment Number Employed, Region Average Annual Earnings, Region Number Employed, Texas Average Annual Earnings, Texas
Less than high school 204,124 $41,374 2,065,483 $42,808
High school or equivalent, no college 272,172 $46,065 2,765,759 $52,035
Some college or associate degree 305,963 $51,098 3,245,675 $60,428
Bachelor’s degree or advanced degree 183,292 $67,802 2,454,975 $95,716
Educational attainment not available 154,375 $23,176 1,544,282 $22,087
Total 1,119,925 $47,688 12,076,174 $58,787

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau and JobsEQ


The increase in wages alone for those workers adds an additional $1.5 billion in direct compensation to the state economy each year (Exhibit 5) — almost three times the total spending of the region’s community colleges.

Exhibit 5

Total Annual Regional Earnings Increase, Some College or Associate Degree versus High School or Equivalent, 2018

Employed, Some College or Associate Degree:

305,963

Average Earnings Increase Beyond High School or Equivalent:

$5,033

Total Regional Earnings Increase:

$1.5 billion

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, JobsEQ and Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

The wage effect is particularly noteworthy given an average annual tuition for the region’s community colleges of just $2,775 per year and the modest two-year educational commitment required for an associate degree.1 The highest-paying jobs for associate-degree holders in Texas are in the energy/utility, management, professional services, trade and manufacturing sectors.2

More Degrees Needed

While the region’s new graduates and certificate holders enter the workforce in large numbers, demand for some degrees still outpaces supply. Broadly speaking, these award gaps are largely in agriculture, health professions and business administration.

Community college districts in the Alamo region awarded more than 5,000 certificates and associate degrees in the health professions in the 2017-18 school year; the next most-common award areas were general studies and liberal arts, personal and culinary services and other trades (Exhibit 6).

Exhibit 6 Top 10 Certificates and Degree Awards in Alamo Region Community Colleges, 2017-18 School Year

Top 10 Certificates and Degree Awards in Alamo Region Community Colleges, 2017-18 School Year
Certificates and Degrees Number Awarded
Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences 5,069
Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities 5,003
Personal and Culinary Services 1,445
Business, Management, Marketing and Related Support Services 1,388
Mechanic and Repair Technologies/Technicians 740
Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services 714
Engineering Technologies/Technicians 550
Security and Protective Services 543
Education 492
Biological and Biomedical Sciences 393

Source: JobsEQ


Alamo Community College Overview

The Alamo region’s two community college districts provided technical and academic coursework for more than 56,000 students in the 2017-18 school year (Exhibit 7). 

Exhibit 7 Alamo Region Community Colleges Overview, 2017-18 School Year

Alamo Region Community Colleges Overview, 2017-18 School Year
Community College District Enrollment Awards Average Tuition and Fees Academic Share of Students Enrolled Technical Share of Students Enrolled Enrolled or Employed, Academic* Enrolled or Employed, Technical*
Alamo Community College District 52,468 9,041 $2,760 80.2% 19.8% 89.2% 89.8%
Victoria College 3,827 805 $2,790 73.7% 26.3% 91.4% 95.5%

*The percentage of academic or technical graduates employed in the fourth quarter of the calendar year after graduation and/or enrolled in a Texas two- or four-year institution in the following fall after graduation, as specified.

Source: Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board


Alamo Colleges District

  • The Alamo Colleges District (ACD) comprises five individual colleges: Northeast Lakeview College, Northwest Vista College, Palo Alto College, San Antonio College and St. Philip’s College.
  • ACD received the 2018 Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award, the most prestigious honor a higher education institution can achieve for performance excellence in innovation, efficiency and leadership.3
  • St. Philip’s is the only college federally designated as both a historically black college and a Hispanic-serving institute.4
  • In fiscal 2017, ACD added $2.6 billion in income to the ACD service region’s economy, equal to about 2.0 percent of the region’s gross product.5
  • An analysis of data from fiscal 2017 indicates that the average ACD associate degree graduate will see an increase in earnings of $9,400 each year compared to a high school graduate working in Texas.6
  • ACD’s Alamo Academies programs train high school students for careers in high-demand sectors; 93 percent of students who graduate from the Alamo Academies programs pursue higher education, join the armed forces or enter high-wage employment following graduation.7

Victoria College

  • Victoria College serves Victoria, Calhoun, DeWitt, Gonzales, Jackson, Lavaca and Refugio counties.
  • The student-to-teacher ratio at Victoria College is 17 to 1.8
  • According to a 2014 Emsi study, Victoria College added $164.6 million to the college’s service area.9

Conclusion

Community colleges play a vital role for students and businesses by offering postsecondary education and job training at great value. As the Alamo region’s two community college districts work to address local skills gaps and meet the specific needs of area employers, they support more than 7,000 jobs and add more than $816 million dollars in economic output annually. Furthermore, the higher pay of those with some college or an associate degree helps raise total wages in the region by $1.5 billion per year.


End Notes

Links are correct at the time of publication. The Comptroller's office is not responsible for external websites.

  1. Calculated from data in Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, THECB Texas Public Higher Education 2019 Almanac, Spring 2019,
  2. Based on data provided by JobsEQ.
  3. Alamo Colleges District, “Alamo Colleges wins Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award,” November 15, 2018.
  4. Alamo Colleges District, “St. Philip’s College,”.
  5. Emsi, “Fact Sheet: The Economic Value of Alamo Colleges District,” (PDF) October 2018.
  6. Emsi, “Analysis of the Economic Impact and Return on Investment of Education: The Economic Value of the Alamo Colleges District,” (PDF) October 2018, p. 6.
  7. Alamo Colleges District, “Alamo Colleges District’s Alamo Academies Celebrate Graduation,” May 20, 2019.
  8. Victoria College, “Community & College Profile”.
  9. Emsi, “Fact Sheet: Demonstrating the Economic Value of Victoria College,” (PDF) December 2014.

Questions?

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the material on this page, please contact the Comptroller’s Data Analysis and Transparency Division.

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