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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.

Comment on this Story

  • Erlkoenig

    This means the 16 thousand plus students and employees spend over $61,000 each year — or — about the same as tuition.

  • Local 1

    I’m not saying the UNCW study is accurate, but the impact of the University extends far beyond just the students and college employees. Your analysis is way to simplistic. The school draws thousands of local, reagional, state, and national visitors each year for a myriad of events. All of this would have some positive impact on our local economy.

  • Guest28405

    A +1 Billion up front and a -1 Billion later that student loans tax graduates? Salary adjustment concessions could be made across the entire campus in administration.

  • justin

    Uhhh, and fewer / reduced salaries would mean even less spending in our community. You do understand economics, correct? I’m surprised the number isn’t actually higher, considering how many times most economists count a dollar bill turning over in a local economy… any chance Mr. Hall is simply being conservative?

  • Robo

    The results appear to be exaggerated. Yes, the University does put more money into the local economy, but with that amount, Wilmington should be able to suspend taxes for a number of years!

  • ma_lashley

    That amount was for a one year period which incidentally included the construction costs and resultant impact of 2 large construction projects on campus: The new behavioral sciences building and expansion of the student recreation center were just opened this Fall. If you go download the 2020 vision plan for UNCW you’ll see 3 more planned parking decks, a hotel, meeting space and numerous new academic/student housing buildings. Construction on campus will play a big role over the next decade, more than any baseball stadium ever will.

  • Jennifer

    The business I work for definitely benefits from UNCW!


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