Student impact

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Many Cape Girardeau residents who aren't students appreciate the slowdown that occurs when the student population at Southeast Missouri State University decreases during the summer. The press of traffic eases and lines are shorter at the movie theaters -- except for "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest."

But some businesses lose thousands of student customers in the summer and have to find ways to compensate.

Some offer extra specials. Others accept that they'll have to bear a reduction in revenue for a few months. They'll do much better come September.

Two studies by the university's Harrison College of Business in 2003 estimated student spending at more than $51 million from September through May. Almost $10 million of that amount is spent on rent, dining out and alcohol. Students spend another $4.3 million on fuel and $1.8 million on cell phone use.

Life in a college town has all kinds of advantages. Southeast students and faculty add much to the region's cultural climate. Their impact on the area's economy is considerable as well.

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