Quick Facts

Facts About New York State’s Independent Colleges and Universities

Download our infographics about the Independent Sector:

As of Fall 2019

Developing Talent

  • Private, not-for-profit colleges and universities enroll 40 percent of the 1.2 million students enrolled in postsecondary education in New York State.
  • New York State’s Independent Sector is the largest in the country.
  • Sixty percent of private, not-for-profit colleges and universities in New York State enroll fewer than 2,000 students.
  • Considering the Independent Sector’s undergraduate population:
    • 21 percent are age twenty-five or older
    • 57 percent are female
    • 18 percent attend classes part-time.

Degree Production

  • In 2016-17, the Independent Sector awarded 50 percent of bachelor’s, 73 percent of master’s, and 79 percent of doctoral and professional degrees earned in New York State.
  • In New York State, 39 percent of students aged 25 and above who earn a bachelor's degree, do so in the Independent Sector.
  • The Independent Sector led degree completion with a 70.7 percent six-year graduation rate in 2017 (up from 59.7 percent in 2000).
  • The Independent Sector awards 55 percent of the nursing degrees awarded in New York State, which includes…
    • 67 percent of bachelor’s degrees in nursing
    • 66 percent of graduate degrees in nursing
  • 72 Independent Sector campuses award 60 percent of the state’s bachelor’s and graduate degrees in education.
  • The Independent Sector outpaces other sectors in the production of degrees in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). 
    • This includes 56 percent of the bachelor’s degrees, and 71 percent of graduate degrees earned in STEM fields in New York State, which includes…
      • 56 percent of bachelor’s and 73 percent of graduate degrees awarded in biological and biomedical sciences
      • 45 percent of bachelor’s and 66 percent of graduate degrees awarded in physical sciences and science technologies
      • 52 percent of bachelor’s and 68 percent of graduate degrees awarded in computer and information sciences
      • 66 percent of bachelor’s and 73 percent of graduate degrees awarded in engineering and engineering technologies
      • 46 percent of bachelor’s and 77 percent of graduate degrees awarded in mathematics and statistics

Driving Economic Impact

  • In 2017, total statewide economic impact of New York’s Independent Sector of higher education was $88.8 billion, which represents a 12 percent increase over 2015.
  • Total employment in 2017 was 415,600, which includes 186,700 institution jobs, 14,100 construction jobs, and 214,800 indirect/induced jobs.
  • Total payroll, which includes institutional, construction, and indirect/induced employment, was $30.7 billion in 2017.

Empowering Students

  • The Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) helps more than 330,000 students pay their tuition at a New York State college or university.  In 2016-17, students at independent colleges and universities received $198 million in TAP funds.
    • Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of Independent Sector TAP recipients have incomes below $40,000; half (50 percent) earn less than $20,000.
  • Independent Sector institutions provide $5.7 billion in institutionally funded financial aid, which is more than twice the amount distributed in 2006-07 ($2.6 billion).

Educating Students of Color

  • Forty-two percent of African-American and Latino students who attend college in New York State, attend a private, not-for-profit institution.
  • Forty-seven percent of African-American and Latino students who attend college in New York State receive their bachelor’s and graduate degrees from private, not-for-profit colleges and universities.
  • The Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) brings the promise of a college education to a traditionally underserved population: 66 percent of HEOP students are African-American or Latino.

Committed to Discovery

  • New York State ranks second among the states, with total public and private higher education R&D expenditures of $6.1 billion.
  • Independent colleges and universities account for 75 percent of R&D spending among higher education institutions in New York State.
  • In 2016 the Independent Sector produced 67 start-up companies, filed 694 new patent applications, and received 506 U.S. patents.

Notable Distinctions

  • The Independent Sector is well represented in U.S. News and World Report college rankings: six institutions are listed in the top 50 Liberal Arts Colleges; five are listed in the top 50 Best National Universities, and five are listed in the top 50 undergraduate Engineering Schools.
  • In 2019, six of the 12 Nobel Prize winners had an affiliation with one of New York State's private, not-for-profit colleges or universities at some point in their career.