According to a rosy new study, Texas taxpayers see a 6.9 percent rate of return on their investment in community colleges.

The report, Moving Texas Forward, was produced by Idaho-based firm Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc. on behalf of the Texas Association of Community Colleges. They find that, at $46,600, the average mid-career annual income for an individual with an associate's degree is 35 percent more than an individual with a high school diploma.

These higher earnings reportedly expand the tax base in Texas by about $4.25 billion annually. And because of improvements in health, employment, and economic well-being associated with higher education, the state saves $190.9 million each year, the study notes.

"As the state of Texas faces a looming budget shortfall, there is a clear concern that additional cuts to these critical institutions could reduce their ability to impact the state's economy," noted TACC President Reynaldo Garcia in a statement urging the state to "remain committed" to investing in community colleges or risk losing economic ground.

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The executive summary of the report is available on the right, and the full report can be found here.

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