Economic impact study reveals Queens College adds over $1.8 billion to New York City economy

Clock tower Fridays
Courtesy of Queens College

An economic impact study on the value of Queens College showed that the college adds more than $1.8 billion to the New York City metropolitan area and provides a return of $4.90 for every dollar spent by taxpayers.

The study was conducted by Emsi, a labor analytics firm, which defined the New York City metropolitan area as comprising the following counties: Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk and Westchester.

“This report provides indisputable evidence that Queens College is not only of life-changing importance to the students who enroll here as part of their pursuit of the American dream, it is a powerful economic engine that generates and drives commerce in support of the entire New York metropolitan area,” said Queens College Interim President William Tramontano.

According to the study, a significant portion of the income added — $1.5 billion — is the result of alumni impact, which represents the collective earnings of alumni, taxes paid on those earnings, jobs created by alumni, taxes paid by their businesses and spending by alumni. 

The remaining sources of QC-related economic impact include operations spending, $276.1 million; start-up and spin-off company impact, $35.8 million; student spending, $23.1 million; research spending impact, $11 million; capital spending impact, $3 million; and visitor spending impact, $1.8 million. Those sources improved the local economy by providing additional income and job opportunities to area residents.

“This study documents the tremendous annual economic benefit that Queens College, one of CUNY’s 25 colleges, has on New York City and the greater metropolitan area,” said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “Queens College faculty and staff win millions of dollars of research and philanthropic grants. The college’s alumni are collectively responsible for $1.5 billion in impact. Clearly, Queens College — like City College, which recently released a similar report, and like CUNY — is an indispensable New York institution that makes powerful contributions to the overall economy of both the city and state.”

Because Queens College is committed to promoting supplier diversity, New York state-certified minority- and women-owned business enterprises were a significant part of the vendor pool. In 2018, MWBE participation was 36 percent, or $1.1 million in actual spending. 

Queens College’s economic impact was also expressed in terms of return on investment. 

The $4.90 return for each dollar spent by taxpayers who support the institution represents an annual rate of return of 13.3 percent. For students, QC offers a return on investment of $5.50 for each dollar spent — an annual rate of return of 17.9 percent.

The report revealed that nearly 85 percent of QC students stay in the metropolitan area after graduating. They earn an average of $34,500 more annually and $1.5 million more in a working lifetime over a person with only a high school diploma. 

Queens College graduates are more likely to be employed, less likely to commit crimes, and generally lead healthier lives than less educated people, resulting in an estimated savings of $236.6 million in benefits to communities and citizens of New York over the course of the students’ working lives.  

Thomas Grech, president and CEO of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, said with a total impact of $1.8 billion to the economy, it should not come as a surprise that Queens College is a critical component to not only Queens County, but also New York City overall. 

“The economic impact to businesses large and small comes at a very critical time for the Queens economy, as transportation, health care and tourism establish themselves as key drivers to business,” Grech said. “We enjoy our ongoing partnership at all levels, including the fostering of internships and mentorships of Queens College students by the Chamber and our members.”

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