'Scarfies' add up

October 11, 2002

Universities revitalise local economies, providing jobs and bringing students and their cash to town. The THES reports on their impact worldwide

Dunedin is renowned for its vibrant student life. But Otago University "scarfies" add more than just colour to New Zealand's southernmost university city.

A report estimates the university's national economic impact at NZ$816.8 million (£248 million) for 2001, a 3.5 per cent increase over 2000.

In 2001, students at the Dunedin campus spent NZ$192.5 million. University spending totalled NZ$288 million. A further NZ$41.5 million was contributed by student and university spending at Otago's campuses in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland (NZ$1.3 million).

"On five weekends a year, there is an influx of parents and families into Dunedin for (graduation) ceremonies. City motels and restaurants fill, with increased spending in a host of other service areas," the report says.

Vice-chancellor Graeme Fogelberg said the report showed that the university was continuing to grow "not only in terms of its status as an internationally renowned tertiary institution, but also as an important contributor to the national economy and to the Dunedin economy in particular".

The Dunedin campus's total economic impact last year was "equivalent to nearly NZ$6,750 for every man, woman and child in the city", Dr Fogelberg said.

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