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March 30, 2023

Study: Central Mass. private colleges have $3.8B in economic impact

Photo | Timothy Doyle Clark University, Worcester

The Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts found the eight schools it represents in Central Massachusetts account for $3.8 billion in economic impact and 18,800 jobs.

The AICU Mass commissioned Philadelphia-based Econsult Solutions, Inc. to conduct the study, which found that private colleges and universities have a $71-billion impact on the Massachusetts economy, according to a Thursday press release. The organization represents 59 independent, nonprofit colleges and universities across the state.

 “We know our colleges and universities have an outsized impact in the region, not just economically, but culturally and from a social impact as well,” Clark University President David Fithian said in the press release. “It’s good to see in black and white that universities like ours play such a major role in fueling the Central Massachusetts economy.”

The study focused on four categories of economic impact: operations, capital spending, ancillary spending, and alumni wage premium.

Operation costs account for $1.7 billion of the $3.8 billion in Central Massachusetts. Capital spending accounts for $240 million. Ancillary spending, which relates to student and visitor spending like campus visits and commencement ceremonies, accounts for $150 million. Alumni wage premium describes the spending power of the alumni of AICU central Massachusetts institutions who live and work in the state; this accounts for $1.6 billion of the $3.8 billion total.

The Central Massachusetts institutions represented by AICU are Anna Maria College in Paxton, Assumption University in Worcester, Clark University in Worcester, The College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Nichols College in Dudley, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, MCPHS University, which has a Worcester campus, and Tufts University, which operates the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in Grafton. Dean College in Franklin was not considered to be in Central Massachusetts in the AICU study.

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