11 Western New York Institutions Generate $1.3 Billion; Independent Colleges and Universities Generate $54.3 Billion in Economic Impact for New York State

News Date: 10/1/2013

With total payroll exceeding $19.5 billion for 360,200 direct, indirect and induced jobs, New York's independent colleges and universities are major private employers in all regions of New York State according to a new economic analysis by the Center for Governmental Research (CGR) released today by the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities(CICU).

As private employers, independent (private,not-for-profit) colleges and universities provide 174,000 direct jobs with a payroll that exceeds $10.7 billion. In nine of the state's counties, private higher education employment represents five percent or more of total employmentand six percent or more of total wages. Further, in 2009 two of the topemployers in New York State were private higher education institutions: CornellUniversity and University of Rochester.

In total, the 100-plus independent colleges and universities in New York State contributed $54.3 billion to the state's economy in 2009. This is an increase of $6.8 billion (up 14%) since 2007 and more than $12.9 billion (up 31%) from 2005. In 2009, direct institutional spending was more than $46 billion and academic medical center spending more than $4.3 billion.

"This study reaffirms the critical role that independent colleges and universities play in the New York State economy. We know that the knowledge sector has become the focal point for 21st century innovation. What some may forget is that these campuses are significant private sector employers, too," said the researcher and CGR president Kent Gardner. "Educational institutions-particularly independent colleges and universities-also are significant contributors to their regional economies, attracting students (and their dollars) from other regions and states."

In Western New York, independent colleges and universities contribute an annual $1.3 billion to the economy, including annual construction. Collectively, 11 campuses are directly and indirectly responsible for an estimated 12,200 jobs and more than $456 million in payroll.

With more students than comparable sectors of higher education in California and Texas combined and more in-migration of first-time college students than any other state, New York's independent, not-for-profit colleges and universities generate student and visitor spending of $3.9 billion annually.

"Independent colleges and universities have significant impact as anchor tenants providing a stabilizing effect on local economies, especially those hardest hit in Upstate New York," said CICU president Laura L. Anglin. "Additionally, students, faculty and staff also contribute significantly to community service activities, as well as research, innovation and entrepreneurship that directly drives economic development." 

The release of these updated figures complements those released by State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli in October 2010. The Comptroller's report, The Economic Impact of Higher Education in New York State, stated "New York has the largest private higher education sector in the nation, with 167,450 jobs in 2009 - more than 40 percent larger than second-ranked California." That report also noted that "Most of the growth in higher education employment this decade has been at privatecolleges and universities."