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Report: SUNY System the Key to New York’s Economic Future

DATE: 06-01-2011

Albany – State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher today heralded the findings of an economic impact study that points to SUNY as a key contributor to New York State’s economic future. The report, How SUNY Matters: Economic Impacts of the State University of New York, is the most comprehensive and detailed analysis ever undertaken of the economic impact SUNY has on New York State.

“This is the Power of SUNY,” said Chancellor Zimpher. “The economic impact generated by the 64 campuses of SUNY is massive. The system’s capacity to innovate and help new businesses succeed, and to create jobs and populate the workforce with skilled, educated New Yorkers, is unmatched. This much is clear—with SUNY leading the charge, the economic revitalization of New York is certain and the future is bright.”

According to the report, which is available online, the SUNY system had a minimum economic impact of $19.8 billion in 2008-09.

Importantly, the study also found that the system is making an even greater contribution to New York’s future economy. SUNY expands the state’s capacity to grow and produce jobs via three primary contributions, according to the report: educating a competitive workforce; helping employers adopt new technologies and ideas; and rapidly growing the capacity of SUNY research campuses to develop new technologies and to transfer research into commercial use.

The report, commissioned by Chancellor Zimpher and conducted jointly by the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government at the University at Albany and the University at Buffalo Regional Institute, is based on a series of surveys and extensive field study work conducted on all SUNY campuses with respect to economic development activities, as well as detailed statistical and financial data collection from each campus.

The report finds that, “With the right policies and investments in place, the system can fulfill its enormous potential to lead the revitalization of New York State’s economy. Building on innovations and their effects in successive steps can produce very strong economic impacts. Opportunities for innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic leadership are widespread in the SUNY system—and can be exploited more fully.”

SUNY will use the report as a benchmark of the system’s current economic impact, enabling SUNY to target its efforts and enhance its economic contribution in the years ahead.

The role of higher education in economic development is the overarching theme of SUNY's strategic plan, The Power of SUNY, which was launched in April 2010 and provides a roadmap for the system's development over the next decade.

Chancellor Zimpher is also partnering with Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to make SUNY an economic driver for New York State. Earlier this year, Governor Cuomo called for the creation of regional economic development councils across the state and asked SUNY to provide leadership for each of them.

Alongside Chancellor Zimpher, the governor announced NYSUNY 2020, which will make SUNY a catalyst for job growth throughout the state, strengthen the academic programs at its four University Centers, and demonstrate that New York is open for business.

Recently, SUNY launched the SUNY Report Card, an exclusive evaluation tool that will publicly track the university's systemwide work as an educator, job creator, community partner, and generator of boundary-breaking research. With the release of its report card, SUNY took an unprecedented step to measure the university system's performance against New York's greatest social and economic needs, including the alignment of SUNY's research capacity to statewide job growth and the state's ability to capture a greater share of the global green energy market, among other measures.

SUNY is embedded in every community in New York State—93 percent of New Yorkers live within 15 miles of a SUNY campus, and virtually 100 percent live within 30 miles. In many communities, SUNY is also the region's largest employer.

About the State University of New York

The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive university system in the United States, educating more than 467,000 students in more than 7,500 degree and certificate programs on 64 campuses with nearly 3 million alumni around the globe. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit