University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire


News Bureau . Schofield Hall 201 . Eau Claire, WI 54702
phone: (715) 836-4741
fax: (715) 836-2900

UW-Eau Claire Contributing Significant Dollars
To Chippewa Valley Economy

 MAILED:  June 26, 2003

EAU CLAIRE - Students at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire are contributing significant dollars to the Chippewa Valley economy each month by spending money on items ranging from entertainment to transportation to food and clothing, according to a recent study completed by the UW System.

When the median dollars spent in each of the 11 categories included in the survey are added together, they total $265 a month per student. With about 10,000 students, the survey suggests that UW-Eau Claire students as a whole spend more than $2.6 million a month - or $23.4 million during the nine-month academic year - on the expenses included in the survey.

"This survey doesn't tell us specifically where the students spend their money, but it's safe to assume a majority of those dollars are being spent in the Chippewa Valley since most of our students live in Eau Claire, at least during the academic year," Chancellor Donald Mash said.

The survey confirms something UW-Eau Claire officials have long known - UW-Eau Claire students are major contributors to the local economy, Mash said, noting the numbers would be even higher if housing costs were part of the survey.

"Some might take the students' presence here for granted," Mash said. "But these numbers remind us just how important our students are to local businesses and to the Chippewa Valley as a whole. Students add value to the community in many ways, including to the economy."

UW-Eau Claire students reported spending the most each month on transportation items, including things like gas and parking, the survey states. In a typical month, the median amount spent by students on those items was $38. In the categories of restaurants/bars and telecommunications (telephone, cellular phone) the survey found a $35 median dollar amount spent in a typical month by UW-Eau Claire students.

"UW-Eau Claire students' contributions to the local economy is one of the many reasons we consider the university to be an important partner with our region," Mash said, noting students also contribute in other ways to enhance the quality of life in the region, such as working as volunteers, interns and employees.

For example, UW-Eau Claire is one of only a few of the nation's 400 regional public universities with a service-learning requirement, Mash said. UW-Eau Claire students must complete 30 hours of service-learning activities to graduate. During the 2001-02 academic year, students' spent nearly 67,000 hours on service-learning projects, said Donald Mowry, director of the Center for Service-Learning at UW-Eau Claire.

"Social service agencies, businesses and other organizations in the area benefit greatly because our students volunteer their time and talents to fulfill this requirement," Mash said. "It's another way our students contribute to the overall quality of life in the Chippewa Valley."

Forty-nine percent - or 4,730 - of the undergraduate students responded to the e-mail survey, sent in spring 2003. Ninety-five percent of the respondents lived off campus without a parent or guardian or in campus housing, with 5 percent living off campus with a parent or guardian.

The survey asked students to estimate how much they spend in a typical month in 11 categories including: entertainment; transportation costs; restaurants/bars; clothing and footwear; books; DVDs, CDs, tapes and computer software; personal services such as haircuts and gym fees; and toiletries such as toothpaste, shampoo and makeup.

Results for each category include:


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 Judy Berthiaume, Director
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield 201
(715) 836-4741

Updated: June 26, 2003