[Corvallis Gazette-Times, Jan. 30, 2011] — When Oregon State University President Ed Ray told an audience of 60 at LaSells Stewart Center during a presentation on the university’s $2.06 billion economic impact Jan. 19 that students annually spend about $11,000 on non-academic expenses, he didn’t divulge the details of this area of the report.
“We don’t want to get into what they spent their money on,” Ray joked; member of the audience giggled in response.
However, a closer look at the numbers found by ECONorthwest, a Eugene-based economic consultant group hired to examine the impact of OSU, shows that full-time students aren’t spending money so much on debauchery — hinted at by Ray and the presentation’s audience — as they are on off-campus housing.
The findings further illuminate a growing housing issue in Corvallis, where high demand fueled by skyrocketing student enrollment has caused rental prices to increase and availability to plummet — so much so that the area’s rental vacancy rate has hovered around 1 percent for much of the past year.
ECONorthwest gathered data from OSU’s financial aid and scholarships office and from university budget reports, including the estimated $9,444 students will pay for room and board, an average total that the financial aid and scholarships office determined after surveying students, examining local rental rates and using University Housing and Dining Services’ on-campus housing prices.
After subtracting on-campus housing and parking fees and various student fees, ECONorthwest found that the university’s students spent $250 million on off-campus expenditures in the 2010-11 academic year, said Paul Thoma, an economist for ECONorthwest, in an email.
Dividing that total by 22,977, the average number of full-time students enrolled at OSU’s Corvallis and Bend campuses during 2010-11, yields a total of $10,880 in off-campus expenses.
That total includes spending by students living on campus whose housing costs aren’t figured in to the nearly $11,000 average (on-campus students numbered 3,989 in fall 2010), and it takes into account spending on books and supplies, personal items, travel and miscellaneous fees. …
Read the full article by reporter Gail Cole on the Corvallis Gazette-Times site.