With the new school year starting Monday, the Rolla region should once again see the economic boost provided by University of Missouri–Rolla students.
“The economic impact of UMR students is significant for the area community,” says Jay Goff, dean of enrollment management at UMR. “We can draw certain conclusions based on our financial aid packages, which build in more than $2,100 per student for incidental expenses. We know most of the students’ discretionary living dollars will likely be spent in the Rolla area, so for each additional 100 students enrolled, at least $210,000 is likely added to Rolla’s regional economy. Since there will be approximately 5,200 UMR students residing in the Rolla community this fall, students will likely spend well over $10.4 million living, dining and shopping in the local area.”
Goff believes the parents and families of students also impact Rolla’s economy. “Family members of students spend significant amounts of money in the Rolla area, through means as simple as renting hotel rooms or going out to eat during family visits,” he says.
John D. Butz, Rolla city administrator, considers UMR students vital to the Rolla economy.
“If each dollar spent by students in Rolla rolls over three or four times in the local economy, the economic impact from direct student spending would be substantial,” Butz says. “UMR students also play a pivotal role in building our sense of community with their diversity, creativity, energy and community volunteerism.”
Butz interprets this sense of community to be just as important to the region as students’ economic impact. He still feels the economic impact of UMR’s nearly 6,000 students cannot be overstated.
“Whether it’s the 11 p.m. pizza run, a visit to a favorite establishment, housing or school supplies, UMR students create a great deal of economic activity both directly and indirectly,” Butz says. “Fees and tuition along with state aid help fuel the engine of the area’s largest single employer, and student spending directly impacts the cash registers at numerous businesses throughout the area. It is hard to imagine Rolla without all of the benefits of being associated with a leading technological university and some of the best and brightest young minds in the country.”