Student spending

Students at Southeast Missouri State University play an important role in our local economy. A recent study by the university shows student spending has increased significantly over the years with rising enrollment.

The study, presented at the October Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce's First Friday Coffee, notes that in 2011 Southeast students spent $63.6 million. This is up more than 24 percent from 2003 spending, which totaled $51.2 million. Going even further back, students spent $7 million in 1973 and $34.4 million in 1983.

Dining out and groceries were two of the top spending categories for students in 2011 at $6.4 million and $10.8 million, respectively. Technology spending was also an area of significance, including cellphones ($3.3 million), computers ($1 million) and Internet ($887,043).

Tim Arbeiter, vice president for community development at the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce, told the Southeast Missourian earlier this month that the study is a valuable resource for businesses owners.

"This is a very helpful piece of information that someone who is making a decision to open a business needs to know," Arbeiter said.

Living in a town with a university has a number of benefits. Student and other university-related spending is one for our local economy. We appreciate the university updating the community on the spending trends and hope other business leaders can use this information to effectively market their goods and services.

To read more about the study, go to semissourian.com or check out the study findings at www.semo.edu/economicimpact.