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Study Confirms Fisher’s Significant Contributions to, Impact on Rochester Economy

October 12, 2020

The economic and civic impact of St. John Fisher College is strong and projected to grow in the coming years, according to a recent economic impact study conducted by Appleseed, a New York City-based economic consulting firm.

Aerial view of St. John Fisher University's campus in the fall.

The firm’s forecasted outlook is the result of continued growth in the number of Fisher alumni living and working in the Rochester area (and elsewhere in New York), new curricular developments that are responsive to the needs of the region’s evolving economy, and Fisher’s emergence as an anchor institution – increasingly involved in collective efforts to address community needs and contribute to accelerating economic growth in Greater Rochester.  The findings of the study—which examined the College as an enterprise, its contributions to the development of the state’s human capital, civic and community engagement at Fisher, and the institution’s growing impact in the Rochester area—have been made available online.

In the fall of 2018, Fisher employed nearly 900 people of whom 65 percent worked full-time and 95 percent lived in Rochester.  Salaries and wages paid to Fisher employees totaled $47.4 million. From the fall of 2005 through the fall of 2018, employment at Fisher increased by more than 36 percent. Taking into account both the direct, indirect, and induced effects of Fisher’s spending on payroll, purchasing, and construction, as well as off-campus spending by students and by visitors to the College, the study estimates that in the fiscal year 2019, Fisher directly accounted for 1,500 jobs in the Rochester region, with earnings totaling nearly $78.1 million and $139.5 million in regional economic output.  In terms of enrollment, more than 96 percent of all students enrolled at Fisher in fall 2018 were New York state residents, including nearly 57 percent who were residents of the Rochester area. That same year, 3,719 students were enrolled at the College – an increase of 5.5 percent since fall 2005. To those students, Fisher provided nearly $38.5 million in College-funded financial aid to undergraduate students, including more than $18.7 million to students from the Rochester area. As of 2018, an estimated 6.3 percent of all Monroe County residents who had earned a bachelor’s degree or higher were Fisher graduates, and the following year, nearly 80 percent of all Fisher alumni lived in New York state, 58% of whom lived in the Rochester area, making substantial professional and civic contributions.

Community service and civic engagement have been at the heart of St. John Fisher College since its founding. To that end, the College continues to attract students who demonstrate a strong commitment to serving their communities. During the 2018-2019 academic year, more than 2,600 students spent a combined 421,461 hours volunteering in schools, health care institutions, and community agencies.  Hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students also participate in experience-based learning opportunities as part of their professional training; in the same year, these students reported a total of 1,012,050 hours of work experience in schools, hospitals, community health, and mental health centers, pharmacies, among other community settings. 

The study reported that 28,028 living alumni, or 58.3 percent, live in the greater Rochester area, with another 21.5 percent living elsewhere in New York state. The report also noted that Fisher’s graduates are especially well-represented among the region’s “well-educated 25-to-45-year-old workers so critical to the vitality and adaptability of New York’s economy.” That figure is predicted to grow as the College continues to enroll more than 1,000 students each year.

“Fisher was founded to serve Rochester and remains committed to access, affordability, and responding to the needs of our local community. This mission has consistently guided us as an enterprise, in the transformative education we provide and the civic and community engagement we believe in. I am so proud of the institution’s growing impact, our students’ outstanding achievements, and our graduates’ successes and commitment to their communities,” said Gerard J. Rooney, president.

The full economic impact report can be found online.