Missouri S&T students boost Rolla economy

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On August 21, 2017

New Missouri S&T students gather outside the Havener Center during an opening week celebration.

With the new school year starting Monday, Aug. 21, the Rolla region should once again see the economic boost provided by Missouri University of Science and Technology students.

“We survey our students every year to see how much they spend on expenses beyond just tuition, room and board,” says Tim Albers, vice provost and dean of enrollment management at Missouri S&T. “We find that each new freshman spends about $1,975 per year on personal expenses, and each upperclassman spends even more – about $2,720.”

Albers says that graduate students, many of whom reside with their families, report they spend over $5,700 per student on personal expenses.

Total enrollment at the close of registration on Aug. 21 was 8,695, an increase of 55 students over last year’s first-day total of 8,640. Of the total, 833 are distance-education students; 7,862 are enrolled on campus.

“That means that with approximately 7,860 S&T students residing in the Rolla community this fall, students will likely spend nearly $24 million in Rolla. That’s quite an economic impact.”

Those personal expenses are usually spent off campus for everything from pizza to haircuts, from entertainment like movies to gas for their cars, Albers notes.

Rolla city administrator John D. Butz says Missouri S&T students are vital to the Rolla economy.

“When you consider that every dollar spent by students in Rolla is estimated to roll over three to four times in the local economy, the economic impact from direct student spending is substantial,” Butz says. “S&T students also play a pivotal role in building our sense of community with their diversity, creativity, energy and community volunteerism.”

Butz says this sense of community is just as important to the region as the students’ economic impact, but he still feels the economic impact of S&T’s on-campus students cannot be overstated.

“Whether it’s the 11 p.m. pizza run, a visit to a favorite establishment, housing or school supplies, S&T 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 research university and some of the best and brightest young minds in the country.”

First-day enrollment numbers are not official. Official enrollment numbers for the fall semester will be tabulated after the fourth week of classes.

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