Quick Facts

Facts About New York State’s Independent Colleges and Universities

Download information about the Independent Sector:

Developing Talent

  • Private, not-for-profit colleges and universities enroll 40 percent of the 1.2 million students enrolled in postsecondary education in New York State.
  • Sixty percent of private, not-for-profit colleges and universities in New York State enroll fewer than 2,000 students.
  • Considering the Independent Sector’s undergraduate population:
    • 21 percent are age twenty-five or older
    • 57 percent are female
    • 18 percent attend classes part-time


  • New York State’s Independent Sector is the largest in the country.
  • New York State is the leading destination for first-time students who leave their home state to attend private, not-for-profit colleges.  More of these students choose New York than any other state.
  • There are Independent Sector campuses in every region of the state. Visit our interactive campus locator map to search for colleges and universities.

Degree Production

  • In 2018-19, the Independent Sector awarded 49 percent of bachelor’s, 72 percent of master’s, and 78 percent of doctoral and professional degrees earned in New York State.

Use the Tableau dashboard below to explore additional degree production information in New York and other states.


  • In New York State, 67 private, not-for-profit colleges and universities produce 59 percent, or 10,464 of the bachelor's and graduate degrees earned by students who become educators. These institutions lead not only in New York, but among private sectors of higher education across the U.S.


  • In New York State, 50 private, not-for-profit colleges and universities produce 57 percent, or 8,825 of the degrees earned by students who become nurses. New York State is among the top states in nursing degree production.


Driving Economic Impact

  • In 2017, total statewide economic impact of New York’s Independent Sector of higher education was $88.8 billion, which represents a 12 percent increase over 2015.
  • Total employment in 2017 was 415,600, which includes 186,700 institution jobs, 14,100 construction jobs, and 214,800 indirect/induced jobs.
  • Total payroll, which includes institutional, construction, and indirect/induced employment, was $30.7 billion in 2017.

Empowering Students

  • The Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) helps nearly 300,000 students pay their tuition at a New York State college or university.  In 2019-20, students at independent colleges and universities received $167 million in TAP funds.
    • Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of Independent Sector TAP recipients have incomes below $40,000; half (50 percent) earn less than $20,000.
  • In 2018-19, 86 percent of first-time, full-time students at Independent Sector colleges and universities received some form of financial aid: federal, state/local, or college-funded.
    • Of the total amount of aid for Independent Sector students, 89 percent was college-funded.
  • In 2018-19, Independent Sector institutions provided $6.4 billion in college-funded financial aid, and have increased this amount by an average of 8 percent each year since 2000.


  • In 2018-19, more than 36 percent, or about 18,000 of the 49,000 first-year Pell Grant recipients attending four-year institutions enrolled at private, not-for-profit colleges and universities, and received nearly $90 million in Pell Grant awards.


Educating Students of Color

  • Forty percent of African-American and Latinx students who attend four-year/graduate colleges in New York State, attend a private, not-for-profit institution.
  • Forty-five percent of African-American and Latinx students who attend college in New York State receive their bachelor’s and graduate degrees from private, not-for-profit colleges and universities.
  • Sixty-six percent of African-American and Latinx students who attend college in New York State receive their master's and doctorate degrees from private, not-for-profit colleges and universities.


Committed to Discovery

  • New York State ranks second among the states, with total public and private higher education R&D expenditures of $6.4 billion.
  • Independent colleges and universities account for 77 percent of R&D spending among higher education institutions in New York State.
  • In 2017 the Independent Sector produced 66 start-up companies, filed 613 new patent applications, and received 494 U.S. patents.

Notable Distinctions

  • The Independent Sector is well represented in U.S. News and World Report college rankings: six institutions are listed in the top 50 Liberal Arts Colleges; five are listed in the top 50 Best National Universities, and five are listed in the top 50 undergraduate Engineering Schools.
  • Five of the 13 Nobel Prize winners in 2018 had an affiliation with one of New York State's private, not-for-profit colleges or universities at some point in their career.

Explore our Tableau dashboards for additional perspective. Contact Keith Cushing for additional information (keith@cicu.org).