FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) -A study conducted by the University of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research says Kentucky’s lower education levels cost the state and citizens over $900 million dollars annually.
The study examined seven outcomes of education across the Kentucky economy—state income tax revenues, income and earnings, employment, Medicaid, health, crime, and participation in the federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs (SNAP).
The report found that increasing educational attainment to the national average would generate up to a $903 million annual gain in new revenue and savings in Kentucky for the areas studied. Of that amount, up to $500 million would be generated annually in state tax revenues and $200 million per year would be saved from the reduction in Medicaid expenditures.
Businesses and citizens would save a projected $200 million annually in the reduction of health care costs associated with chronic disease and over $3 million annually through a reduction in the costs of crime.
Per capital earnings would rise by over 3.5 percent and over 4,600 individuals would move off unemployment if Kentucky obtained the same average education levels as the nation.
Other benefits of reaching the national average include moving 33,000 households off of food stamps and over 20,000 adults off Supplemental Security Income, which would generate a cumulative cost savings of $100 million per year for these federal programs.
To get to the national average, Kentucky would need a 1 percent increase in the number of individuals with an associate degree and a 5 percent increase in bachelor’s degrees or higher.
The reports are available at http://www.cpe.ky.gov/info/.