St. Lawrence University’s economic impact $275 million a year

A new study released today by the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities found that St. Lawrence University (which holds the broadcast license for NCPR) has a “grand total” economic impact of $275 million a year.

That includes 913 direct jobs at the college in Canton, making the school one of the region’s biggest employers.

See the full breakdown here.  SLU put out this statement a short time ago:

St. Lawrence University President William L. Fox stated, “We have always known that for St. Lawrence University to thrive, our region must also thrive.

We want to be a good neighbor and have a positive, lasting impact here.

The results of this study show concretely many ways that St. Lawrence is contributing to the area that is our home.”

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7 Comments on “St. Lawrence University’s economic impact $275 million a year”

  1. Mike Ludovici says:

    We sent our daughter to SLU at no small expense.
    It’s good to know the money benefitted more people than just her.

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  2. Bret4207 says:

    I don’t believe it for a second, but hey, gotta give good press to the provider of the feast.

    Good old SLU would be giving a lot more to the community if they lost their property tax exempt status as all schools, gov’t entities and churches should.

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  3. Mervel says:

    Why don’t you believe it Bret? I mean you know they do employ 800-900 people how is that bad for St. Lawrence County? I live close to Canton and sometimes I get a little annoyed at some of the things they do and how some of the students act (not all); but in general they are a very positive influence on the community.

    I think we should be looking at ways to help them expand grow and stay strong just as we would any other industry up here.

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  4. Bret4207 says:

    Why? Because if you read the article it’s done by a group whose purpose is to support and “spin” the idea. Because a lot of their data is extrapolated and based on projections and estimates. Because while there is a cash flow from SLU and our other colleges, there is also a cash flow too them that isn’t considered at all. If they can “estimate” so much then lets estimate the taxes lost from all the property in Canton that is exempted from taxes. Lets add in the additional costs having the colleges there- the additional DPW, police and fire, rescue and all the costs associated with that. Add in the costs that SLU owning various companies and concerns in the area entails to the rest of the county. Take the village of Canton and rt 11 for instance. Logic dictates a by pass around Canton village would speed traffic significantly, solving that “need for a roof top highway” issue. The logical way to run it would be from the RR over pass west of town to the RR overpass east of town- right through SLU. Do you think Johnson newspapers or NCPR would ever support that idea? You know, the Johnson newspapers controlled by SLU, the NCPR heavily underwritten and housed by SLU? What are the costs to the county from having demands from college professors and staff met in regards to programs and services? Without the colleges we’d be a poorer county, but our costs might well be far lower too.

    I can believe SLU, Clarkson and the SUNYs contribute. I just don’t buy the numbers because not everything is considered, not even remotely.

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  5. Mervel says:

    Yeah it would be a good study to calculate the costs I would agree that these sorts of studies often to dot fully address that side of the equation.

    But keep in mind the taxes on the land in Canton that SLU sits on would be close to whatever people are paying in deKalb junction for vacant lots because without SLU that is what would be there; the same goes for the SUNY’s. There is no industry outside of possibly Agriculture waiting to snap up the property. How many taxes are being collected on the Camp Gabrials property right now? If you lose the 900 jobs with benefits, many of whom live in the village, you would lose the homes that are paying property taxes. The Canton PD is made up of 9 guys, SLU has its own security and the two work together pretty well. The Fire and EMS in Canton are volunteer. You could make a case that Canton should invest more to support SLU.

    This is a major industry for the area and yes we should support them the same way we would support ALCOA expansion or fight to encourage other new industries to locate or stay here. The costs are important to consider but its not really even close.

    I think you have a personal dislike for the institution, which is fine I am not a big private liberal arts kind of person either, I don’t really get paying 50k per year to NOT go to Harvard. Yes kids driving around in Range Rovers who have never worked in their life and will likely just live of the family money all of their life; does point out some of what is wrong with this country. But at the same time this IS still a great industry for the area. I would still cash their checks.

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  6. Bret4207 says:

    Actually Mervel, SLU is my family Alma Mater going back several generations. No, not for me, but that was my choice. My peeve is with the idea they take nothing, that they simply add to the area. Same for the Potsdam schools. With out them there is no way to say what would or wouldn’t have happened. But it’s better to be honest and try and consider everything when we make wild claims about “how much” they add to the area.

    In this county the colleges, hospitals, public authorities (NYPA,Seaway,OBPA) are the sacred cows that shall not be badmouthed under any circumstances. That’s a very poor way to think IMO.

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  7. Mervel says:

    Yes I agree on bringing these issues up.

    I think we could look at some form of taxation for some of these institutions.

    But there really is a big difference for example between public schools and private colleges from a tax bases and a net economic impact. Public schools are paid for by the local taxpayer and the state tax payer; private schools like St. Lawrence are paid for mainly by the tuition paid by the families of those attending. SLU. This would be a true net inflow into the region from largely downstate families who are usually those paying the full freight. Our local public schools are a combination of state aid and local taxes but it really is just recycling dollars. They are not selling a product that people around the state and nation are willing to pay a whole bunch of money to buy, whereas places like SLU and Clarkson are.

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