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College students bring big boost to economy

College students are moving in this weekend and getting ready for classes to start. But these students are not just spending money on books and tuition -- these students bring life to the local economy.

With three colleges in town, when class is in session La Crosse picks up an additional 15,000 to 20,000 residents.

Businesses told News 8 Sunday that business is picking up now that students are back in town, which is good for the store owners and students looking for work.

Moving in to your dorm freshman year is exciting.

"I always thought about this day but I never though about this day actually happening and all of a sudden, it's here," UW-La Crosse freshman Tim Venus said.

Move-in day marks the start of a new school year and businesses are welcoming back these students with open arms.

"It is pretty noticeable when they come back. It's (a) pretty rapid increase in both foot traffic and just overall sales in general," Deaf Ear Records Manager Shelly Stover said.

Stover said already she's noticing the store is busier because, students are a big part of the store's clientele.

"Actually this year is the first year that we hired an extra part-time person in anticipation of sort of the school rush," Stover said.

Stover says for a small business like Deaf Ear to hire another employee, even if it is part-time, is a big leap.

Deaf Ear isn't the only spot looking for work. "Now hiring" signs are beginning to pop up around town at a time when many students will be looking for work.

"I think I'm going to try and get good grades first semester, but second semester I'll definitely start having to pay for stuff and I'll need to get a job," UW-La Crosse freshman Aaron Pelle said.

"Obviously the business perspective (is) you're just having more people come in and probably spending more money; that's obviously a positive. But seeing -- La Crosse just seems a lot more alive when school is back in session just because there are more people here," Stover said.

Sunday there were quite a few local businesses that told News 8 they were just too busy to comment on camera, but nearly all of them say they have hired or will be hiring more staff in the near future.

All three universities are now moved in. Classes are set to begin on Tuesday at UWL. Western Technical College and Viterbo have already begun.

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