Universities and Colleges as Economic Drivers

Clinton Community College

Clinton Community College

— Every community has something that is the backbone of it. For some it’s a church, a football team or a person. For New York State the SUNY system is its backbone.

At a forum on Thursday, Sept. 26 at Clinton Community College a discussion was held about the opportunities that can be found in SUNY in the North Country. This particular event was part of a series of four discussions that will take place across the state. The discussion held at Clinton Community College was the first in the series.

The discussion was following the publication of a new book co-authored by Dr. Jason Lane, PhD titled “Universities and Colleges as Economic Drivers.” Lane is the deputy director for research at the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government. Before the forum began Lane gave a PowerPoint presentation explaining some of the overviews from various sections of the book.

As Lane began to make his PowerPoint presentation he noted the absence of SUNY chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher who was unable to attend. He explained that she believes that it is through the SUNY system that the state of New York will continue to thrive. She came to this conclusion after she took tours of all 64 SUNY campuses.

Lane said New York has a large educational system for higher education that annually pumps $1.2 billion dollars into the state’s economy. He called these colleges “anchor institutions” because they are able to operate whether a community is booming economically or not.

In addition, colleges pay millions in taxes annually and employ thousands. In just the North Country region, area colleges employ 6,700 people with 22,300 students attending these institutions. Another 61,000 alumni reside in the North Country region, Lane said. In total, these institutions add $357 million dollars to the economy in the North Country in just one year, Lane explained.

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