Newswise — An updated economic analysis by the Center for Governmental Research, released today has reported that Clarkson University provided an economic impact of $344.7 million to the North Country regional economy last year through its institutional operations and jobs related to supporting student services and commercialization of research.

Expenditures by institutions like Clarkson generate state and local tax revenues, as well as personal income tax revenue. Working with the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities, the Rochester-based Center reported that independent colleges and universities generated $88.8 billion in total economic impact for New York State in 2017.

Clarkson, combined with St. Lawrence University and Paul Smith's College of Arts and Sciences, contributed $703 million to the North Country region

In 2016-17, private colleges and universities awarded 50 percent of all bachelor’s degrees in New York, 73 percent of the master’s, and 79 percent of the doctoral and first professional degrees.

“While our primary economic impact is in the North Country, our campuses in the Capital Region and Hudson Valley are indicative of our evolving statewide influence,” said Clarkson President Tony Collins. “As a private, nationally-ranked technological research university and innovation incubator, our expanding corridor of academic, research and community influence stretches from Potsdam to New York City. We focus on bringing research, thought leadership and innovation together, to create tangible commercial value, entrepreneurial growth, and to benefit society at large.”

“With powerful purpose and intentionality to achieve results, Clarkson University and its students actively engage in public-private partnerships to advance economic development opportunities and programs that make our communities great places to live, learn, work and visit,” said Vice President for External Relations Kelly O. Chezum. "Clarkson is fully committed to fulfilling its role to provide public good in our local and regional communities, as well as New York State.”

These partnerships pay off for students. With a job placement rate of 96%, a degree from Clarkson University also translates into higher-than-average starting salaries, according to Brookings Institute. Those numbers place Clarkson in the top ten nationwide for return on investment in education. By PayScale standards, the early career salary for grads is $65,100. In their mid-career, Clarkson alumni average $128,200.

One example of public-private partnerships is Clarkson’s Shipley Center for Innovation, which serves as the home for one of New York State’s Innovation Hot Spots. Working with regional economic development partners and research centers across the campus, Shipley staff have facilitated more than 175 new start-ups and have assisted on more than 415 projects located throughout the regions. There are 60 active projects currently in the pipeline, demonstrating a strong engine for regional economic development through engagement in the creation of new enterprises capitalizing on emerging technologies. In 2018, Shipley staff also work with an Adirondack-based angel investment group, Point Positive, to host free workshops in Lake Placid and Clayton aimed at preparing entrepreneurs and investors for discussions with potential investors.

After seven years of operation, the incubator is seeing successes, including LC Drives, a company that makes high-powered efficiency motors for boats, wind turbines, and buses and Potsdam Sensors, a company that builds a low-cost sensor to examine tiny air particles that impact health and climate.

These commercial activities that go beyond the academic mission on campus also contribute to property taxes.  Examples where square footage is dedicated to for-profit activities include Clarkson Hall, Peyton Hall and Lewis House on the downtown campus, which have portions rented to regional for-profit businesses. Damon Hall, which was vacant for ten years has been converted into a light manufacturing incubator and opened in 2017. In addition to contributions to support community services, the University also pays property taxes on the Clarkson Inn and the University Bookstore.

President Collins also co-chairs the North Country Regional Economic Development Council (NCREDC), which was awarded $64.9 million for the North Country by New York State this month to continue its Strategic Development Plan. Through seven rounds, the North Country Regional Economic Development Council was awarded $549.5 million for 537 projects in the region.

Clarkson University’s detailed economic impact data can be found here.

To learn more about economic development activities, Clarkson's outreach in promoting math and science K-12 education, research projects advancing the quality of life in the North Country or Clarkson's role in the local community, please feel free to contact Vice President for External Relations Kelly Chezum at [email protected].

Photo caption: An aerial view of Clarkson University's Potsdam campus.


CICU news release:

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

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, salaries and spillover spending; 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.”

The Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (CICU) represents the public policy interests of private, not-for-profit colleges and universities in New York State. Founded in 1956 by a small group of private, not-for-profit college and university presidents, CICU now represents 100+ independent campuses across New York State.

“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.

The economic impact of Independent Sector Campuses by Region:

Capital Region: $4.4 billion

Long Island: $3.5 billion

New York City: $58 billion

Western New York: $1.4 billion

Central New York: $3.3 billion

Southern Tier: $5.7 billion

Mohawk Valley: $683 million

Mid-Hudson: $5.2 billion

North Country: $703 million

Finger Lakes: $6 billion

For complete details of this report, including regional impact, please visit

About The Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities in New York 

Founded in 1956, The Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (CICU) in New York represents the chief executives of New York's 100+ independent (private, not-for-profit) colleges and universities on issues of public policy. Member colleges compose the largest private sector of higher education in the world and confer most of the bachelor’s degrees (51%), master’s degrees (72%), and doctoral and first-professional degrees (79%) earned in New York state.


Clarkson University educates the leaders of the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as an owner, CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. With its main campus located in Potsdam, New York, and additional graduate program and research facilities in the Capital Region and Beacon, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university with signature areas of academic excellence and research directed toward the world's pressing issues. Through more than 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, education, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo and connect discovery and innovation with enterprise.

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