WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- For years, University of North Carolina Wilmington has been a key part of the community in the Port City. Today the university released a new study that puts a 10-figure price tag on just how big its impact is each school year.
According to the economic study conducted by UNCW, the school provides about $1 billion for the local economy.
UNCW researchers collected statistics through surveys and records at the university.
Senior economist Dr. Woody Hall says they are checking the figures again, but he is confident in the numbers.
"We were asking students, we were asking faculty and staff how much they spend each month; an estimated amount that they spent in certain different categories," Hall said.
Those categories included food, gas and other goods like clothing and supplies for class. Hall says they found that students and staff accounted for close to $15 million in sales tax alone during the 2011-2012 school year. Hall says students live on and off campus, which also means money in property taxes.
"There's a bunch of off campus housing as well as on campus plus we have to live. I think that brings quite a bit of money," UNCW sophomore Jessica Marsh said.
Many businesses told us they see a noticeable difference when classes are in session.
Marsh says she worked at a restaurant near campus. She says she knows her classmates are putting their money where their mouth is.
"It's completely different, like at Cookout (next to campus). It's super busy every weekend, and in the summer is just slows down. It's not that bad," she said.
The university says other factors like construction were included in last year's spending. Researchers say that money is a one-time addition to the overall economic impact.