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March 7, 2023

Amid legislative session, CT’s private colleges tout $16.5B economic impact

Quinnipiac University Professor of Economics Mark P. Gius.

Connecticut’s 15 not-for-profit independent colleges and universities have an annual $16.5 billion economic impact, according to a study recently conducted for the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges, an association that represents private schools.

The study, based on an analysis by Quinnipiac University economics professor Mark Gius, used data from fiscal year 2021. It concluded that private colleges in the state had a direct $10.1 billion economic impact from institutional spending on employees, university purchases, capital expenditures, and students and alumni. 

The schools, which enrolled 80,000 students statewide in 2021, also had a $6.4 billion induced impact, while creating or retaining 127,264 jobs in Connecticut as a result of the economic activity generated by the sector.

Such economic impact reports aren’t unique. Other organizations publish similar reports, particularly when the legislature is in session and various interest groups are lobbying for state support or other beneficial policies. 

Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges (CCIC) President Jennifer Widness said her group is trying to garner support on several issues this session, including increased funding for need-based financial aid in the Roberta Willis Scholarship Program, which provides scholarships to Connecticut students to attend Connecticut public and private nonprofit colleges and universities.

The group is also lobbying to maintain the current tax status of CCIC institutions and for lawmakers to maintain support for the payment-in-lieu-of-taxes, or PILOT program, which reimburses municipalities for tax-exempt properties.

“The nonprofit independent higher education sector is a key driver in Connecticut’s economy,” Widness said. “Collectively, our member institutions are economic engines in this state, serving as magnets attracting students and their families, alumni and tourists that all spend money locally yet use minimal municipal services.”

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