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Report: Cornell University has massive, $78M impact on local economy

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  • Staff Report 

Cornell University’s influence on Ithaca’s local economy and community was highlighted in a recent Local Economic Snapshot, showcasing the university’s substantial financial contributions and volunteer efforts. In the fiscal year ending June 30, 2023, visitors to Cornell’s campus injected $78 million into the local economy, a figure that surpassed pre-pandemic levels, while the university also undertook significant construction projects totaling $77 million. This financial input underscores Cornell’s role as a key player in the regional economy of Ithaca and Tompkins County.


Beyond its economic contributions, Cornell stands as Tompkins County’s largest employer, with a payroll of $1.18 billion supporting nearly 11,000 employees. Students and visitors significantly contributed to the local economy through spending on housing, utilities, food, and entertainment, amounting to $470 million. Additionally, the university’s spending on local goods and services and external research funding further bolstered the regional economy, highlighting the institution’s comprehensive impact.

Cornell’s commitment to the community extends beyond economic factors, with numerous volunteer initiatives and support for local governments and nonprofit organizations, including a $7 million contribution to various entities. The university’s efforts in fostering entrepreneurship, evidenced by the success of Rev: Ithaca Startup Works and other Cornell-founded initiatives, have also created jobs and attracted investment, illustrating Cornell’s multifaceted role in enriching the life and economy of Ithaca and beyond.