CCSF closure would bruise San Francisco's economy 

If City College of San Francisco is shuttered, at least $300 million in economic activity would be lost annually, earning power would be jeopardized and education costs for those who enroll in comparable programs elsewhere would skyrocket, according to a new study.

By framing CCSF's closure in the context of economic impact, supporters of the school hope for stronger backing from politicians and the public.

The report, completed by the Budget Analyst's Office at the request of Supervisor Eric Mar, provides details on the potential impact of CCSF's closure. Counting federal and state grants and other revenue, the school represents an economic engine of at least $300 million, the report said.

The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges decided in July to revoke CCSF's accreditation next year unless it addresses identified management problems.

The report makes clear that the student body, which last year numbered approximately 80,000, would have no similar options locally. A comparable program in the California State University system would cost $10,000 more, and up to $70,000 more at private institutions.

Other community colleges in the Bay Area could be an option, but they are smaller and have limited capacity.

And San Franciscans who can't pay the higher costs could be stuck in low-wage jobs. There were 5,000 students enrolled in the spring semester who did not have a high school diploma, the report said, and each student would lose estimated annual earnings of $8,840 by failing to obtain an associate degree from CCSF.

Last spring, there were 16,000 CCSF students studying English as a second language. If they could not find that education elsewhere, they would earn $13,500 less annually, the report said.

The report also noted that local employers would lose an "important source of skilled employees." Additionally, the 2,457 CCSF employees, who earn a combined $169.6 million, would be out of work.

"City College is part of a city's economic ladder that allows some level of mobility for those that have been held in and locked into poverty," Mar said. "By losing the accreditation, and to lose City College, would be like kicking the ladder out from under the most vulnerable populations — not only of English learners, but the 5,000 or more people that don't have high school diplomas."

As the institution fights to save itself, last month City Attorney Dennis Herrera provided some hope of a reprieve when he filed two legal challenges to block the accrediting commission from revoking CCSF's accreditation.

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