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Part Two: Contributing to the Development of New York’s Human Capital

Human capital – the accumulated knowledge, skills, and experiences of a city’s, a region’s or a state’s workforce – is perhaps the single most important contributor to economic growth.

Data published by the U.S. Census Bureau highlight the impact of education on individual workers’ earnings. As Figure 7 shows, in 2018, the median annual earnings of Monroe County residents who had completed four-year college degrees were 73.9 percent higher than the median earnings of those who had only a high school diploma; and the median earnings of those with graduate or professional degrees were 112.8 percent higher than the earnings of those with no education beyond high school.

Figure 7: A bar graph of median earning by educational attainment for Monroe County residents age 25 years and older, 2018

Figure 7: A bar graph of median earning by educational attainment for Monroe County residents age 25 years and older, 2018

Source: 2018 American Community Survey (1-Year Estimates), U.S. Census Bureau; Social Explorer

The economic benefits of higher education, however, are not limited to those who earn degrees. A study published by the Milken Institute in 2013 found that in U.S. metropolitan areas, adding one year of schooling to the educational attainment of workers who already had a high school diploma increased average GDP per capita by 17.4 percent and average real wages by 17.8 percent.3 Educational attainment affects job growth as well. A recent study by the Boston Planning and Development Agency found that “metro areas with a ten percent higher share of adults with bachelor’s degrees in 2000 saw an average annual rate of job growth that was 0.3 percentage points higher from 2000 to 2016.” 4

Even non-college-educated workers benefit from this effect. University of California economist Enrico Moretti has shown that “the earnings of a worker with a high school education rise by about 7 percent as the share of college graduates in his [metropolitan area] increases by 10 percent.” 5

Student Enrollment at Fisher

In the fall of 2018, a total of 3,719 students were enrolled in for-credit programs at St. John Fisher College, including 2,752 undergraduate and 967 graduate students. As shown in Table 9, 40.7 percent of all Fisher undergraduates were enrolled in the School of Arts and Sciences, 28.6 percent were enrolled in the Wegmans School of Nursing, 20.7 percent in the School of Business, and 6.5 percent in the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. School of Education. Among graduate students, 33.5 percent were enrolled in the Wegmans School of Nursing, 31.4 percent were enrolled in the Wegmans School of Pharmacy, 21.0 percent in the School of Education, 12.7 percent in the School of Business, and 1.3 percent in the School of Arts and Sciences.

Table 9: Total for-credit enrollment at Fisher by school, fall 2018

Table 9: Total for-credit enrollment at Fisher by school, fall 2018
School Undergraduate students Graduate students
School of Arts and Sciences 1,120 13
School of Business 571 123
Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. School of Education 180 203
Wegmans School of Nursing 787 324
Wegmans School of Pharmacy 1 304
Undeclared/non-matriculated 93
Total 2,752 967

As shown in Figure 8, between the fall of 2005 and the fall of 2018, total for-credit enrollment at Fisher grew by 5.5 percent. Undergraduate enrollment grew by 2.1 percent (an increase of 56 students), while graduate student enrollment grew by 16.8 percent (an increase of 139 students).

Figure 8: A bar graph of total for-credit enrollment at Fisher, fall 2005 – fall 2018

Figure 8: A bar graph of total for-credit enrollment at Fisher, fall 2005 – fall 2018

Figure 9: A pie chart of enrollment at Fisher by student’s permanent place of residence, fall 2018 (Undergraduate)

Figure 9: A pie chart of enrollment at Fisher by student’s permanent place of residence, fall 2018 (Undergraduate)

Figure 9: A pie chart of enrollment at Fisher by student’s permanent place of residence, fall 2018 (Graduate)

Figure 9: A pie chart of enrollment at Fisher by student’s permanent place of residence, fall 2018 (Graduate)

Figure 10: A pie chart showing the number of Fisher degrees and certificates granted by student’s permanent residence, 2018-19 academic year

Figure 10: A pie chart showing the number of Fisher degrees and certificates granted by student’s permanent residence, 2018-19 academic year

Making a Fisher Education More Affordable and Accessible

Financial aid that St. John Fisher College provides from its own resources helps to ensure that students can get access to the educational opportunities Fisher offers. In the fiscal year 2019, Fisher provided nearly $38.5 million in College-funded financial aid to undergraduate students, including $13.5 million to students from Monroe County, $5.2 million to students from elsewhere in the Rochester area, and $17.9 million to students from elsewhere in New York.

The following programs are just a few examples of the College's commitment to expanding access to a Fisher education.

  • Fisher is particularly committed to providing opportunities for first-generation students. In the fall of 2018, 18 percent of Fisher's undergraduate population were first-generation students. Created in 1998 to mark the 50th anniversary of the College's founding, the Fannie and Sam Constantino First Generation Scholarship Program each year selects up to 24 high-potential, highly-motivated high school seniors whose parents did not graduate from college. The program provides yearly financial assistance for one-half of the total cost of tuition and on-campus room and board. First Generation Scholars also participate in a learning community designed to help them succeed in making the transition from high school to college.
  • Fisher also enrolls a significant number of low-income students. Approximately 31 percent of its undergraduate students received Pell grants during the 2017-18 academic year, which typically go to students in the bottom 40 percent of the income distribution. Fisher is not only committed to enrolling low-income and first-generation students, but also to ensuring their success. According to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Education, graduation rates for low-income students closely track graduation rates for all undergraduate students at Fishers. Sixty-seven percent of all Fisher students receiving Pell grants graduated within six years from their first enrollment at Fisher, as compared with 73 percent of all undergraduate Fisher students.6
  • Beginning in the fall of 2020, incoming first-year undergraduates from local charter schools and public schools in the city of Rochester will be eligible to receive the new Fisher Urban Scholar Award. The scholarship, which is open to Rochester residents who participate in Urban-Suburban programs, will provide $40,000 per student over the course of four years.

Expanding Access to an Advanced Degree

In the fall of 2019, St. John Fisher College announced the creation of the Community Education Partner Program – a new program aimed at expanding access to Fisher graduate programs for Rochester-area employees. The program will provide a 20 percent tuition discount to select employees of partner companies and organizations who enroll in graduate programs in Fisher’s School of Arts and Sciences, School of Business or School of Education.

As of December 2019, Monroe Community College and Finger Lakes Community College had signed on as partners to the program, and Fisher is currently finalizing partnerships with several other local organizations. The program launched in the spring of 2020.

Preparing Fisher Students for Tomorrow’s Economy

The Executive Intern program allows students to combine their drive for academic development with their passion for Fisher.

A Strong Undergraduate Foundation

Undergraduate education at St. John Fisher College combines a strong grounding in the liberal arts with opportunities for students to pursue their career interests. Fisher offers a wide range of undergraduate programs that are closely aligned with some of New York’s leading (and in some cases, fastest-growing) industries. The following are just a few examples.

  • Fisher’s School of Arts and Sciences is offering a new B.S. in cybersecurity, a rapidly growing industry that has become increasingly critical for all industries. Launching in the spring of 2020, the program will combine courses in computer security, database management, cyberlaw, malware analysis, cloud security, and more. Students will also have the opportunity to gain practical experience assessing digital threats in labs using the tools and techniques used by professionals in the field.
  • The Wegmans School of Nursing's traditional nursing B.S. program trains its students to provide exceptional patient- and family-centered care through a combination of classroom learning and hands-on practice. Students are required to fulfill at least 840 hours of clinical experience, most of which take place with Rochester-area health care providers. Students also gain training experience through the School's Glover-Crask Simulation Center, a 10,400 square-foot space that mirrors a hospital unit. In 2019, 95 percent of graduates of the Wegmans School of Nursing passed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) for registered nurses on their first attempt – well above the state's average pass rate of 85 percent.
  • The School of Arts and Sciences offers a B.A. in interactive media, a multidisciplinary program that combines a set of core courses in web programming, graphic design and web development with more specialized courses within one of the following focus areas: interactive media, game design and production, new media art and physical computing, analytics, and data visualization, or digital cultural studies.
  • The School of Arts and Sciences offers a B.S. in media management, a program that spans public relations, advertising, marketing, and business management. Students gain practical experience working for College media outlets, for Rochester-area firms, and for PRIMA, Fisher's student-run integrated public relations firm.
  • Fisher's minor in Spanish/Latino culture for health professionals provides students with the skills needed to thrive in an increasingly multilingual and multicultural work environment. Developed jointly by the departments of nursing, modern languages and culture, and sociology, the program combines courses in the Spanish language, Latino cultural practice, specialized health-related vocabulary, and community health issues.
  • The program finishes with a community health internship experience in a Spanish-speaking health-related facility. The program is also offered as a certificate option for individuals who are currently employed or seek employment in a health care setting. The 15-credit certificate program follows the same curriculum as the minor, with the participant's current work experience taking the place of the internship.
  • Fisher's School of Business offers a B.S. in finance, with concentrations available in either corporate finance or financial planning. The program offers several opportunities for experiential learning, including internships with financial planning and advisory firms in the Rochester area, as well as through participation in Fisher's Investment Club, which gives students the opportunity to manage a real-world investment portfolio. The School's Parkes Trading Lab, opened in 2019, has nine Bloomberg terminals, giving students hands-on experience with the data sources and analytical tools used by financial professionals worldwide.
  • The School of Business also offers a B.S. in accounting. Each year, nearly 100 percent of the School's accounting graduates are either employed in full-time jobs or accepted into graduate programs within three months of graduation.
  • The School of Arts and Sciences' B.A. in sustainability provides students with the interdisciplinary knowledge and skills necessary to address the economic and societal issues related to sustainability – an increasingly important factor for organizations across all sectors and industries. Through a combination of courses in environmental studies, economics, and public policy, students learn about the theory and practice of sustainability in a wide range of disciplines, including business, biology, economics, sociology, ethics, and more. Students gain practical experience through the program's required community-engaged sustainability experience, in which students spend 150 hours working to address a current sustainability issue with a community partner.
  • Through the School of Arts and Sciences' B.S. in sport management, students learn about the business aspects of the sport industry, including management, marketing, finance, and law. A key component of the program is the experiential learning requirement, which includes a 120-hour practicum during the student's junior year and a 400-hour internship during their senior year. These internships take place with professional sports franchises, high school athletic departments, municipal recreation departments, and other organizations throughout the Rochester region. During the 2018-19 academic year, sport management students participated in 78 internships, including 47 internships with businesses and organizations located in the Rochester area and 25 internships located elsewhere in New York.
  • In the fall of 2017, Fisher launched a new minor in data science, with courses in programming, statistics, quantitative analysis, and building predictive models. Students are required to complete a mini-capstone project in which they apply the techniques of data science to their major fields of study.

Supporting Student Inquiry and Creativity

A student shares research findings with a guest at the annual Student Research and Creative Work Symposium

A student shares research findings with a guest at the annual Student Research and Creative Work Symposium

St. John Fisher College's Center for Student Research Creative Work, established in 2018, seeks to promote and expand student participation in research projects. The Center offers a variety of resources to Fisher students pursuing research opportunities, including connecting students with faculty mentors, research programs, support for travel to attend conferences, presentation opportunities and more.

One of the Center's major initiatives is the Summer Fellows Research Program – a competitive, 10-week summer program in which Fisher undergraduates from across all disciplines have the opportunity to work on faculty-mentored research projects. During the summer of 2019, 32 students and 19 mentors from 10 different disciplines participated in the program.

The Center also sponsors Fisher's annual Student Research and Creative Work Symposium, which provides students with an opportunity to showcase and discuss their research and creative projects.

In-Demand Graduate and Professional Programs

Fisher's graduate and professional programs similarly prepare students for high-demand, rewarding, and critically important careers.

  • Fisher's School of Business offers an MBA program with concentrations in accounting, general management, health systems management, and pharmaceutical industry. The program features flexible course schedules, with classes held on weekdays, weeknights, online, and occasionally on the weekend. The School also offers a '4+1' option, under which undergraduate business students at Fisher can earn an MBA in one additional year.
  • The Wegmans School of Pharmacy is one of only five pharmacy colleges in New York, and the only such program in the greater Rochester area. The School's Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree is a four-year, full-time program integrating studies in disciplines such as physiology, medicinal chemistry, and pharmacology with 2,000 hours of hands-on practical experience. Graduates of the program regularly outperform the national average on licensure exams, and 100 percent of graduates from 2017 and 2018 are currently employed.
  • In the fall of 2019, the Wegmans School of Pharmacy announced the launch of Fisher Pharm.D. Online – a clinically-oriented hybrid Pharm.D. pathway. The program – which is the first online or hybrid Pharm.D. pathway in the state – will follow the same curriculum as the School's on-campus program, with a combination of online courses, selective on-campus immersions, and clinical rotations at pharmacy locations in the students' local communities. This innovative pathway – one of only a few of its kind in the U.S. – will make pharmacy careers more available to students from New York and elsewhere who for various reasons might not be able to pursue an on-campus program. Pending authorization from the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), the first cohort will launch in the fall of 2020.
  • The Wegmans School of Nursing offers an M.S. in nursing that prepares students to work as nurse practitioners or clinical nurse specialists. Students can choose to specialize in family primary care, adult primary or acute care, or psychiatric mental care. The School also offers undergraduate nursing students at Fisher the option to pursue a Fast-Track B.S. to M.S. option, in which students have to opportunity to take graduate-level courses during their senior year of undergraduate study.
  • Launched in 2008, the Wegmans School of Nursing's Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program is designed to prepare students for advanced nursing practice, clinical scholarship, and leadership positions in health care organizations. The program offers both full- and part-time options and is available to both holders of a bachelor's degree or a master's degree in nursing. Students on the post-master's track can complete the program in six semesters of full-time study, while students on the post-baccalaureate track can complete the program in three years of full-time study.
  • The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. School of Education offers an M.S.Ed. in educational leadership designed to prepare teachers and other school professionals for leadership positions at either the school or the school district level.
  • Since 2006 the School of Education has also offered an Ed.D. in executive leadership, an innovative doctoral program, designed for working professionals, in which classes are held every other weekend. Strong demand for this program led Fisher in 2009 to begin offering it in Syracuse as well, in partnership with Onondaga Community College; and in 2017, to begin offering it at Iona College in New Rochelle.

From community college to a pharmacy degree

In 2017, the Wegmans School of Pharmacy partnered with eight community colleges across New York state to create the Pharmacy Early Assurance Partnership program. Through the program, Fisher offers guaranteed admission to its Pharm.D. program to two qualified students from each of the eight community colleges each year. In order to be eligible for the program, students must complete the appropriate prerequisite coursework, which includes a mix of courses in science, mathematics, economics, and more. Partner colleges include Broome, Erie, Finger Lakes, Genesee, Hudson Valley, Mohawk Valley, Monroe and Onondaga community colleges.

While Fisher has many '2+2' agreements with community colleges at the undergraduate level, this program is the first to offer a direct pathway to a doctoral degree program. In total, the program guarantees 16 spots in Fisher's Pharm.D. program each year.

The new program is an extension of Fisher's Pharmacy Early Assurance Program (PHEA), which offers a select group of incoming freshmen who enroll at Fisher directly from high school the opportunity to earn a Pharm.D. degree after a minimum of two years of pre-pharmacy coursework.

Where Fisher Alumni Live

As of the summer of 2019, 79.7 percent of all Fisher living alumni (22,348 living alumni) lived in New York. As shown in Figure 11, 46.0 percent of all living Fisher alumni (12,905 alumni) lived in Monroe County, 12.2 percent (3,428 alumni) lived elsewhere in the Rochester area, and an additional 21.5 percent (6,015 alumni) lived elsewhere in New York.

Figure 11: A pie chart of Fisher alumni by place of residence, as of summer 2019

Figure 11: A pie chart of Fisher alumni by place of residence, as of summer 2019

Based on the 2018 American Community Survey data, we estimate that graduates of St. John Fisher College account for approximately 6.3 percent of all residents of Monroe County who have at least a bachelor's degree.7 Fisher alumni are widely represented among Western and Central New York's business and civic leaders. Table 10 offers a current sample of Fisher alumni across a range of industries.

Table 10: Western and Central New York business and civic leaders who are Fisher graduates – selected examples

Table 10: Western and Central New York business and civic leaders who are Fisher graduates – selected examples
Alumni name Position, company/organization Industry Location
Matthew Augustine CEO, Biodrill Technical Solutions Sustainable energy products/services Rochester
Tom Bonadio Founder & Senior Counsel, The Bonadio Group Accounting firm Rochester
Dr. Leonard Brock Director, Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative Community services Rochester
James Burns President, J.W. Burns & Company Investment advisors Syracuse
Adam Burdick Owner, Burd Home Health Home health services Rochester
Pat Cahill Co-founder, SalesSource International Hardware & software supplier Rochester
Bianca Calascibetta Founder & President, Universal Communication Objective Global marketing firm Rochester
Lawrence Forte III Co-founder, Pointii, Inc. Educational platform Rochester
Donald Jeffries President & CEO, Visit Rochester Tourism promotion Rochester
Jill Knittel President, JK Executive Strategies Executive search Rochester
Janice C. Loss President & Owner, Skin Search of Rochester, Inc. and DermaSpa Health care Rochester
Tricia Marsherall Founder & President, Marsherall Partners, LLC Non-profit support services Rochester
Yasmin Mattox Founder & CEO, Arkatecht Online tools for working parents Rochester
Martin Mucci President & CEO, Paychex Payroll services Rochester
Sharon Napier Chair & Founder, Partners + Napier Advertising agency Rochester
Angela Panzarella President & CEO, YWCA Non-profit Rochester
Tyrone Reaves Founder & President, TruForm Manufacturing & YAMTEP, Inc. Sheet metal parts/ training program Rochester
JoAnne Ryan Co-founder & CBO, Continual Care Solutions, Inc. Software Rochester
Victor E. Salerno CEO, O’Connell Electric Company Electrical contractor Rochester
Rafael Vidal Co-founder & President, ProNexus Consulting Rochester
Jon Williams CEO, Ontario Specialty Contracting Excavating contractor Buffalo

The Value of a Fisher Education

The value of a St. John Fisher College degree is reflected in survey data on post-graduation experiences of Fisher undergraduate students. According to Fisher's First Destinations Survey, 91 percent of the class of 2019 reported that they were either employed, continuing education, volunteering, in military service, or taking a gap year.8

The value of a St. John Fisher College undergraduate education is also reflected in the earnings of its graduates. According to PayScale's annual report on the earnings of college graduates, in 2019:

  • The median early career salary of Fisher alumni who only received a bachelor's degree was $47,500; and
  • The median mid-career salary of Fisher alumni who only received a bachelor's degree was $86,700.9

6U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, IPEDS: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.

5Enrico Moretti, The New Geography of Jobs, (New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012), p. 98.

4Boston Planning and Development Agency, Boston's Economy 2019, September 2019, p. 17.

3Ross DeVol et al., A Matter of Degrees: The Effect of Educational Attainment on Regional Economic Prosperity, The Milken Institute, February 2013, p.1.

7U.S. Census Bureau, 2018 American Community Survey (1-Year Estimates), Social Explorer.

8St. John Fisher College, Class of 2019 First Destinations Report.

9PayScale, 2019-20 College Salary Report.