By Devon Martinez, Staff Writer

This month, as PPCC celebrates 50 years of operation, the college can rest assured that it’s been a pivotal institution in Colorado Springs.

Student response and research done by Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. (EMSI) in 2017 confirms that life without PPCC would be disastrous for the Pikes Peak Region.

When asked about what students would do without PPCC, they gave a variety of answers.

PPCC student Paige Perrete said, “I would probably waste time at a university spending way too much on something I didn’t know. I came here because I didn’t know what to do, so I took general classes.”

“I would probably go to the same place I’m transferring to which is MSU,” said student Danny Campbell, in reference to what she would do without PPCC. Campbell added, “Since these classes are already cheaper, it takes off the extra money, and it’s way cheaper just to go here.” Said Campbell, adding, “If PPCC didn’t exist I’d be sweating.”

Student sentiment was unanimous across all three campuses: the value of PPCC’s cost-effective education and convenient locations made it the obvious choice for them when choosing which school to attend.

EMSI approached this study by examining the impact of what the local and state economy would have been without this institution.

EMSI’s research concluded that the local economic impact generated by PPCC during fiscal year 2015-2016 was worth over $390 million. This is the equivalent of supporting 7,216 jobs, according to the full report.

PPCC generated income includes operation, maintenance and expansion spending on PPCC facilities, in addition to the spending accumulated by its students and alumni.

“Right now, it seems that the nursing program here is better than UCCS,” said Bethany Seay. The school’s nursing program was the reason why she chose PPCC.

PPCC student Emma Chocholaty echoed Seay, saying the nursing program was why she chose to come to PPCC as well.

6% of current students are from outside the Pikes Peak Region. According to the study, the expenditures from these students equals $11.5 million in income for the region,  the equivalent of creating 314 jobs. From a social perspective, every dollar spent on education is worth $13.20 to the community.

Many students, like Danny Cuchiska, would make the commute to CCD, Community College of Denver.

“I would probably end up driving all the way down to Pueblo to go to the university there,” said PPCC student Charlie Campbell.

For both Campbell and Cuchiska long commutes every day would be a major inconvenience.

According to EMSI students who graduate and stay in Colorado Springs end up contributing more to the economy, with an accumulated impact from alumni equaling $314 million. Every dollar spent on education makes PPCC a future investment for current students.