January 15, 2019

Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ economic impact pegged at $254M

GENEVA — Hobart and William Smith officials say the Colleges continue to have a big impact on the regional and state economy — and they’re pointing to a recent report as bona fide proof.

A recent analysis by the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities estimates HWS’ state economic impact at more than $254 million. The assessment comes by way of 2016 and ’17 data collected by the Center for Governmental Research in Rochester, and points to direct spending by HWS, construction and labor costs, and estimated student and visitor impact.

The commission said private nonprofit colleges and universities such as 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,” said Interim President Pat McGuire, who during his tenure as a faculty member in the Economics Department conducted several studies assessing the Colleges’ impact on the 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.”

Officials said the Colleges’ total economic impact numbers are determined by weighing three areas of spending: institutional impact, academic medical centers, and student and visitor spending.

According to HWS, institutional impact includes funding spent on research, construction, salaries and spillover spending. At the Colleges, this includes the $3 million spent to fund the new Bozzuto Center for Entrepreneurship on Castle Street, which features more than 7,000 square feet of space for classrooms, discussion spaces, workspaces and meeting spaces for entrepreneurial studies and related academic and co-curricular programming.

Salaries and compensation totaled more than $97 million, the Colleges reported. These salaries represent money that often remains in the region and is spent on goods and services or general living expenses.

According to the study, HWS student and visitor spending contributed more than $21 million in benefits to the tourism-heavy Finger Lakes region, including spending at restaurants, hotels and retailers by students and their visiting family and friends.

City Manager Sage Gerling said HWS contributes to the city in many ways.

“HWS’ positive economic impact contributes to the city’s Comprehensive Plan’s priority on being financially strong and prosperous for our residents and businesses,” Gerling said. “In addition, we are appreciative of HWS’ contributions towards a socially equitable and environmentally sustainable community through their multiple partnerships and initiatives throughout the city.”

“Partnerships that we have formed with Hobart and William Smith Colleges have become some of the chamber’s most valued relationships,” added Miranda Odell, executive director for the Geneva Area Chamber of Commerce. “By working with academic and administrative leadership on our boards and committees, and by hosting class programs and student interns in our office, we have been able to see firsthand the impact that HWS has on our local and regional community. We look forward to seeing continued growth, success, and well-deserved recognition for the incredible things that are being achieved by HWS.”

Reported by the Finger Lake Times.

Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ economic impact pegged at $254M