Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ state economic impact totals more than $254 million, according to a recent analysis released by the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (CICU). Using 2016 and 2017 data collected by the Center for Governmental Research (CGR) in Rochester, the report on the Colleges’ influence on the state’s economy includes direct spending by HWS, construction and labor costs, and estimated student and visitor impact.
The report offers the Colleges and both local and regional officials a lens on the role that HWS plays in Geneva and beyond. As the CICU notes, private non-for-profit colleges and universities like HWS contributed a combined $88.8 billion to New York State in 2017 and supported more than 400,000 jobs.
“The CICU data is an important tool that helps us track the role we play in Geneva and the Finger Lakes,” says Interim President Patrick A. McGuire L.H.D. ’12, who during his tenure as a faculty member in the Economics Department conducted several studies assessing the Colleges’ impact on the local region. “Our identity as an institution is grounded in local partnerships and collaborative solutions that yield the kind of economic impact we see measured in this study. We look forward to preserving those relationships and working with our fellow stakeholders to ensure that Geneva and the Finger Lakes region continue to grow and thrive.”
The total economic impact numbers, according to the CICU website, are determined by weighing three areas of spending: institutional impact, academic medical centers and student and visitor spending.
Institutional impact includes funding spent on research, construction, salaries and spillover spending. At HWS, this amount included $3 million to fund the Bozzuto Center for Entrepreneurship, which occupies three floors and more than 7,000 square feet on Castle Street, providing classrooms, discussion spaces, workspaces and meeting spaces for entrepreneurial studies and related academic and co-curricular programming.
Salaries and compensation were also a major part of HWS’ impact, totaling more than $97 million. These salaries represent money that often remains in the region, spent on goods and services or general living expenses.
HWS’ impact on the region through student and visitor spending was responsible for more than $21 million in benefits to the tourism-rich Finger Lakes region, according to the report. This number includes discretionary spending at restaurants, hotels and retailers by students, as well as their visiting friends and family.
Institutions like Hobart and William Smith play a major role in ensuring a thriving economy in their locales. “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,” says 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.”