How does Western benefit Washington? Taxpayers generally have a, “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” mentality. If their tax dollars are being used for something, they hope that service will benefit them at some point.
Western has scratched all our backs at some point, so to speak.
Even those members of our community who have never attended Western benefit from the services the university provides. Furthermore Western graduates are constantly making Washington a better state.
Western helps local businesses. From the Center for Economic Vitality, which partners with local businesses to help them grow, to the thousands of Western grads that work for two of Washington’s biggest corporations: Boeing and Microsoft. Donna Janigo, Director of Constituent Records with Western Foundation, said more than 1,200 Western alums are currently working for Boeing. Western produces high quality graduates who are well qualified to enter the workforce upon graduation. These graduates benefit the state by joining the local workforce and stimulating the economy.
Western Washington University Career Services Center issues a survey to Western graduates each year, and from 2006 to 2009, there were a total of 1,170 graduates with degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, some of the most in-demand degrees in the state. Although not all of these graduates recorded what state they are now employed in, 83.7 percent of graduates who listed their state of employment were employed in Washington.
College grads use less state and federal resources. As I’ve mentioned on the blog previously, the higher the degree a person attains, the higher their average yearly income, and the less likely they are to be unemployed. This might go without saying, but college graduates are also less likely to use programs like welfare and food stamps. In 2007, those with a bachelor’s degree were 8 percent less likely to use welfare than those with a high school diploma, and 16 percent less likely to use food stamps.
College grads are also less likely to be sentenced to jail time. As our state’s prison system is facing serious budget cuts, we could use fewer prisoners!
College grads are more productive citizens. College grads are more likely to volunteer and to vote. In fact, 83 percent of bachelor’s degree holders were registered to vote in 2007, and 95 percent of those registered actually voted. Comparatively, 64 percent of those with only a high school diploma were registered to vote, and 86 percent of those registered really voted.
Western’s new tagline is “Active Minds Changing Lives,” and we walk the talk.
Western has been nationally recognized as a school whose students love to volunteer. It is ranked sixth on the U.S. Peace Corps 2010 listing of “Top Producing Colleges and Universities” in the medium-sized schools category.
*all statistics taken from the Higher Education Coordinating Board