Latest EMSI Burning Glass study quantifies CCNY's social mobility prowess

National rankings, from the Wall Street Journal and the Harvard-based Opportunity Insights to the U.S. News & World Report, consistently rate The City College of New York among the top schools anywhere for social mobility. Now comes a study by labor market data firm Emsi Burning Glass affirming the significant impact a CCNY education has on its alumni.

Emsi Burning Glass’ investment analysis of CCNY determines that for undergraduates, a bachelor’s degree generates a positive return on their investment. Investment analysis is the process of evaluating total costs and measuring these against total benefits to determine whether or not a proposed venture will be profitable. If benefits outweigh costs, then the investment is worthwhile. If costs outweigh benefits, then the investment will lose money and is thus considered infeasible.

The Emsi Burning Glass study estimates that students laying out an average of $36,715 in present value student costs will receive a present value of $283,948 in increased earnings over their working lives. Outlay costs include tuition, books, supplies and student loans. 

Overall, the benefit-cost ratio is 7.7. That means that for every $1,000 students invest in a bachelor’s degrees at CCNY, they will receive $7,700 in higher future earnings. The corresponding annual rate of return for the students’ educational investment is 26.5%. In addition, bachelor’s degree students at CCNY see, on average, a payback period of 6.1 years, indicating that about six years after a student’s initial educational investment of foregone earnings and out-of-pocket costs, they will have received enough higher future earnings to fully recover all costs.  

The Emsi Burning Glass study uses a wide array of data that are based on several sources, including academic and financial reports from CCNY; data on CCNY alumni employment outcomes from Emsi Burning Glass’ recent Alumni Outcomes report; industry and employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Census Bureau; and outputs of Emsi Burning Glass’ multi-regional social accounting matrix (MR-SAM) and impact model.

Weighing CCNY’s contribution to the New York State economy, Emsi Burning Glass points out that since its founding in 1847, CCNY has enhanced the state workforce, providing local residents with easy access to higher education opportunities, and preparing students for highly-skilled, technical professions. It estimates New York’s gross state product (GSP) – its combined labor and non-labor income – at approximately $1.7 trillion and that the state supports 12.6 million jobs. Given that students have the potential to earn more as they achieve higher levels of education, a CCNY graduate with a bachelor’s degree can expect approximate wages of $60,600 per year in New York, which is approximately $11,400 more than someone with a high school diploma.

For the latter study, two general types of information are used. Emsi Burning Glass obtained data from the college and used state economic data from various public sources. In addition, Emsi Burning Glass’ proprietary data modeling tools were used to generate the study’s results. Using 241,282 alumni records provided by CCNY, Emsi Burning Glass identified their current occupations, combined with their programs of study while at CCNY, graduation year, and more. Through this process, Alumni Outcomes matched 24,608 profiles from as early as the class of 1960 to as recent as 2020. 

A previous Emsi study put at $1.9 billion CCNY’s annual economic impact on the regional economy (the five boroughs of New York and five adjacent counties) and quantified the “for dollar” return on investment to students, taxpayers and society.

Click here to access the entire Alumni Outcomes report

Harlem-based CCNY has a student body of more than 16,000 pursuing degrees from undergraduate to doctorate in more than 70 areas of study. Students have the opportunity to pursue bachelor’s degrees, post-bachelor’s certificates, master’s degrees, and doctorates, in more than 70 areas of study. Among its eight schools and divisions are the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture, the Grove School of Engineering, and the CUNY School of Medicine. It also offers continuing and professional studies options to support the city’s working students in every walk of life.

About the City College of New York
Since 1847, The City College of New York has provided a high-quality and affordable education to generations of New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. CCNY embraces its position at the forefront of social change. It is ranked #1 by the Harvard-based Opportunity Insights out of 369 selective public colleges in the United States on the overall mobility index. This measure reflects both access and outcomes, representing the likelihood that a student at CCNY can move up two or more income quintiles. In addition, the Center for World University Rankings places CCNY in the top 1.8% of universities worldwide in terms of academic excellence. Labor market data firm Emsi puts at $1.9 billion CCNY’s annual economic impact on the regional economy (5 boroughs and 5 adjacent counties) and quantifies the “for dollar” return on investment to students, taxpayers and society. At City College, more than 16,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in eight schools and divisions, driven by significant funded research, creativity and scholarship. CCNY is as diverse, dynamic and visionary as New York City itself. View CCNY Media Kit.

Jay Mwamba
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