Private, Not-for-Profit Colleges and Universities Contribute $88.8 billion to New York’s Economy

News Date: 12/10/2018

More than 415,600 jobs supported by Independent Sector colleges and universities statewide

ALBANY – New York’s 100+ private, not-for-profit colleges and universities contributed $88.8 billion to New York’s economy in 2017. The economic impact of these institutions has increased by 12 percent since 2015, according to a study completed by the Rochester-based Center for Governmental Research (CGR) on behalf of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (CICU).  The findings of the study underscore the vital role that private, not-for-profit colleges and universities play as economic and research engines and job creators throughout the state.   

Using 2017 data, the study, led by Dr. Kent Gardner, Principal and Chief Economist at CGR, found that more than 415,600 jobs are supported by private, not-for-profit colleges and universities. That number includes direct, indirect, and induced jobs and is a 2 percent increase from 2015. Employees of private, not-for-profit colleges and universities in New York paid an estimated $2.2 billion in state income tax and local sales tax annually.

Statewide, the economic impact of private, not-for-profit colleges and universities has risen steadily since CICU began collecting this data in 2005, more than doubling in that time from $41.4 billion.

The study looks at three components of total economic impact: Institutional impact which includes spending on instruction, research, construction and salaries; student and visitor impact, which includes spending by students at local stores and restaurants and spending by campus visitors including parents, conference attendees, and sporting event attendees; and academic medical center impact, which includes patient revenue and the benefit of residents and fellows at New York’s nine academic medical centers. Economic impact in those three categories broke down as follows:

  • Institutional Impact – $64.5 billion, up 8 percent from 2015

  • Student and Visitor Impact – $4.8 billion, up 3 percent from 2015

  • Academic Medical Center Impact – $19.6 billion, up 31 percent from 2015

“New York’s private colleges are an integral part of the state’s economy, serving as major employers, anchor tenants, and economic engines in every region of the state. This is particularly true upstate where our campuses create jobs and economic vibrancy in communities large and small. While private colleges in New York are focused on ensuring their students have the skills they will need to compete in the economy of the future, they are also strengthening New York’s economy today,” said Mary Beth Labate, CICU president. “We are private colleges, but we are working to benefit the public good in a very real and important way.”

“New York’s private, not-for-profit colleges and universities are leaders in higher education and research. Our institutions train leaders in every field from the arts to finance to physics, and help support the state’s economy by creating jobs and generating economic activity. We are private institutions for the public good in diverse communities from the Bronx to Buffalo,” said Father Joseph McShane, S.J., chair of the CICU Board of Trustees.

New York’s private, not-for-profit colleges and universities educate nearly 500,000 students annually – 39 percent of the total college students enrolled in the state – and confer 50 percent of the bachelor’s degrees, 73 percent of the master’s degrees, and 79 percent of the doctoral and first professional degrees awarded in the state.


Click the links below to find a breakdown of economic impact and jobs for each region in the state: