Colby-Sawyer's Annual Economic Impact on Region Reaches $100 Million

Colby-Sawyer is a vital part of the New Hampshire economy, with an annual economic impact on the Lake Sunapee Region that has reached $100 million, according to a report compiled by the institution’s Office of Financial Services.

Long considered one of the region’s greatest assets, the college’s influence extends far beyond its 200-acre campus and plays a defining role in virtually every measure of quality of life.

Founded in 1837, Colby-Sawyer has called New London home for nearly 180 years and is its largest taxpayer, sending more than $400,000 per year to the town. New Hampshire is the only state in which nonprofit educational institutions pay any property taxes.

The second-largest employer in New London with 489 faculty and staff, Colby-Sawyer creates a total of 1,319 jobs that reap the benefits of faculty, staff, students and visiting families’ combined buying power. Salaries, wages and benefits for college employees total $20 million, $12 million of which feeds back into the local economy through employee spending.

“Colby-Sawyer College values its partnerships with the Town of New London and the Lake Sunapee region. This vibrant community’s interest in the college helps us attract and retain students; they benefit from meeting community members who attend lectures, cultural events and athletic contests,” said Colby-Sawyer President Susan D. Stuebner. “At the same time, we are proud to contribute in various ways to the area through the investments of our faculty, staff, current students, and prospects and their families.”

Enrolled students and campus visitors account for another $5 million in local spending as they patronize businesses, recreate, and fill hotel rooms and restaurants. Tom Horgan, CEO of the New Hampshire College & University Council, emphasizes in a March 2015 New Hampshire Business Review article that the state’s higher education institutions are “huge destinations for tens of thousands of students and families who come each year to look at our campuses, and … the students enrolled in our institutions are in many ways nine-month tourists.”

More than half of the college’s $65 million annual budget is invested back in its 1,200 students in the form of financial aid and grants.

Overall, the college spends $18 million on goods and services per year, making it an economic engine that drives innovation in education, sustainability and the workforce. Colby-Sawyer alumni can be found in nearly every facet of community life across the region: They are teachers, coaches and counselors in area schools; business owners; veterinarians, financial advisors and health care professionals. Of the 33 graduating nurses in the Class of 2016, 27 are working in New Hampshire and 25 of them practice at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, where they join more than 100 other Colby-Sawyer alumni.

In addition to its significant economic impact, Colby-Sawyer offers a variety of resources that enrich the lives of those in the region. Its vibrant culture and arts scene attracts residents and visitors alike to art openings and exhibitions, lectures by popular authors, artists and filmmakers, as well as musical, dance and theater performances. The Dan and Kathleen Hogan Sports Center is a hub of interaction between town and college community members, as is the Susan Colgate Cleveland Library/Learning Center and the Windy Hill School, the college’s early childhood laboratory school that offers early care and education services to the community while training college students majoring in child development, psychology and more to work with children and families. And, since 1998, the college’s continuing education program, Adventures in Learning, has offered courses, lectures, trips and discussions on a wide variety of topics.

Colby-Sawyer’s economic impact report uses the same methodology as the University of New Hampshire’s report and is based on enrollment data from the 2015-2016 academic year and data from the last fiscal year, which ended June 30.