Genesee Community College Strong Economic Driver

Study Reveals College's Growing Impact on Region

Batavia, New York—A comprehensive economic impact study reveals Genesee Community College continues to grow in importance to the Genesee-Livingston-Orleans-Wyoming (GLOW) region’s economy. The study, unveiled last week at a special presentation by researcher Dr. Kjell A. Christopherson, finds the College’s overall regional economic impact now totals $169.1 million and taxpayers are receiving a net positive return on their investment in the College of $9.7 million.

The economic impact study was conducted by Idaho-based Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc. using Dr. Christophersen’s state-of-the-art model which examines the effect of both short-term college-related spending and long-term economic contributions, including tax payments, of students and former students. The model estimates with great precision the income earned as a direct result of the skills students learn in college, the additional taxes they pay, and the public costs that decline as the result of a college-educated citizenry. The economic impact model has been field tested throughout the United States, peer-reviewed and endorsed by independent economists.

Most services funded by state and local governments are undertaken because taxpayers want or need those services, but they are not profitable in the private marketplace and do not generate positive economic returns, Dr. Christophersen stated. Community colleges, however, bring higher incomes to the communities they serve – and with higher wages and salaries come higher tax receipts. Christopherson has studied GCC for the past several years and noted, “You’ve grown quite substantially over the last two to three years.”

The study finds significant economic benefits for students with a Genesee Community College education versus their peers. Former students with degrees will earn, on average, $1.7 million over their working lives, $439,400 higher than their peers who completed high school but did not receive a Genesee education. This translates into increased tax contributions to the region from Genesee graduates. “A Genesee Community College education brings economic benefits to individuals and to the region as a whole far in excess of what anyone could earn through virtually any other type of conventional investment vehicle,” Dr. Christopherson said.

The study also examined what Dr. Christophersen termed “social avoidance costs” – public expenses that are minimized because of the College’s presence in the community. Local taxpayers avoid more than $1.4 million in costs each year because college graduates take greater responsibility for their health and well-being, the study concluded. Genesee saves area taxpayers $1.17 million in health care spending; $184,000 annually in welfare and unemployment benefits; and $86,000 in criminal justice costs.

GCC continues to work toward providing programs that will allow students to find successful careers. “We’ve been putting a lot of effort into making sure the programs we’re delivering support the local region,” said GCC President Dr. James Sunser. “We continue to look to the future to provide local employers with employees that they need who are well-trained, well-educated, and ready to contribute.”

Since its founding in 1966, more than 24,000 individuals have graduated from GCC. Tens of thousands more individuals have completed coursework for credit or have completed customized business training offered by the College. The great majority of people who receive education from Genesee live and remain in Western New York. About 63% live in the GLOW region. “Genesee Community College gives these students the tools they need to make a good living, and these students then return a significant economic benefit to the region they call home,” Dr. Christophersen said.

Please note: An online copy of GCC’s economic impact statement is available at:


# # #