"The university has a big footprint in the local economy. There's no doubt about that. This gives you the opportunity to quantify the impact students, faculty, and staff have in terms of expenditures," said Dr. Williams Davis, economics professor.
Western Kentucky University students, faculty, and staff spent an estimated $178.8 million in the Bowling Green-Warren County area last year, according to the preliminary findings of a survey conducted by WKU economics and marketing departments.
"There's been two other studies in the 70s and 80s on the impact on the local economy. It's been a while since it's been done so it needed to be updated," Davis said.
For the 2005-2006 academic year, WKU students had direct off campus expenditures of $124.4 million. Faculty and staff had $54.4 million in expenditures.
"Most everyone is in agreement that having the university here adds a dimension to our town that makes it unique in a lot of ways. It's a big plus to the community," Davis said.
The survey did not include the $95 million that the university as a whole spends in the community. Combined spending between WKU students, faculty, staff, and the school are somewhere around $275 million. With enrollment at Western increasing each year it could have an even greater impact on Bowling Green and Warren County in the future.
A more detailed report on WKU's secondary impact on the region's economy should be completed by October.
To view the fact sheet on WKU's impact click here.