UTTC Study Proves Value of Education

Aug 15th, 2003 | By | Category: 15-1: Indigenizing Our Future, Tribal College News

A recent study at United Tribes Technical College (Bismarck, ND) demonstrates the economic benefit of higher education. Graduates with two-year degrees such as this year’s 70 students will earn a projected $85.5 million during their working lifetimes. “The value of higher education to American Indian students is evident,” said UTTC President David M. Gipp (Hunkpapa Lakota).

The federal government provides most of the funding for the college. In this evaluation, researchers weighed the $5.8 million operating budget of the college against the 88% job placement rate of graduates using cost-versus-benefit analysis. The average reservation unemployment hovers around 57%, according to UTTC. Factoring in the potential cost of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) General Assistance (GA), the net economic gain to the nation for the graduating class was $65.8 million dollars, a return on investment ratio of 11-to-1. The study also reported that UTTC graduates would pay almost $10 million in net federal income taxes and $691,000 in net North Dakota state income taxes.

“Venture capitalists would jump at an investment that returns more than 1,000%,” said Tom Katus, who conducted the study. Katus is president of TKA International, a social science and management-consulting firm from Rapid City, SD. Shirley A. Bordeaux, UTTC chief financial officer, said the study illustrated all the ways the federal government gets its money back when funding is provided for the higher education of American Indians.

“We intend to share this information with the Office of Management and Budget,” said Gipp. “The evidence is clear that the Department of Interior ought to reconsider their recommendations on the budget. We know we’re making a great contribution to society.”

UTTC has produced over 10,000 graduates in its 34-year history. Its graduates can earn associate of arts degrees and certificates in 14 vocational-technical fields. Gipp noted that in the past two years the Bush administration has not included funding for UTTC in the Department of Interior budget. Congress restored funding for the current fiscal year but has not done so as yet for FY 2004, which begins in October. For further information, contact David M. Gipp (701) 255-3285, or email opi@uttc.edu.

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