Ithaca, N.Y. — This month, Cornell University released an Economic Impact Report that detailed how much money was spent by Cornell, how it was spent, and where it was spent for the 2013 Fiscal Year.

Although the report shows an overall impact across NYS, the numbers prove what most already knew — Tompkins County’s economy is benefited greatly by having the university centrally located in Ithaca.

The report provides a reassurance that Cornell’s spending and growth is moving in the right direction, according to Joel Malina, VP of University Relations.

Here are some of the findings in the 22-page report:

1 — Taxes paid at a few locations

Although a majority of Cornell property is exempt from paying taxes as an academic university, it pays taxes on a few locations like East Hill Plaza and the Business & Technology Park (because those locations aren’t used for academic purposes). The report states that the university’s tax bill is the third largest in Tompkins County.

2 — Lowest unemployment rate

In 2012 Tompkins County had one of the lowest unemployment rates not only among other counties nationwide, but the lowest in the state, at 6 percent. In 2013, that rate declined to 4.1 percent and continued to be the lowest rate in the state.

The study further suggested that Cornell economically impacts households of every income level.

“Such findings suggest that institutions like Cornell can help individuals across all income levels whose fortunes rise with those of the university,” reads the report.
“The report attributes the county’s low [unemployment] rate in part to the university’s stabilizing economic effect for the county as a whole and for individuals at all income levels,” wrote Cornell’s Media Relations Office in a press release.

3 — Staying in Tompkins County

17% of the 2013 graduating class actually stayed Tompkins County, either to start building roots or to continue onto graduate school. It is unclear whether or not this is an increasing, decreasing or stagnant trend.

4 — Supporting buy local

— Cornell supports a “buy local” policy when purchasing from various vendors. The report disclosed that out of $586 million spent on vendors in 2013, $189.6 million was spent on goods and services located in Tompkins County, Central New York, or counties adjacent to Tompkins.

5 — Benefits of Weill

Weill Cornell Medical Center, located in NYC, brought in $851 million, the second largest source of income for the university, the first being tuition. In turn, WCMC purchased $263 million in goods from Vendors located within NYS.


The report encompasses a significant amount of data. To summarize: “through the base indicators of payroll, purchasing, and construction alone, Cornell University generated over 3.2 billion of economic activity in New York State in fiscal year 2013.”


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