Corvallis On List of College Towns Facing Economic Ruin

In a list published by Business Insider, Corvallis was ranked 25 out of 30 college towns that could be the most negatively affected if students don’t return or have to abandon campus again.   

Business Insider found that the 19,871 undergraduate students who are seeking degrees or certificates at Oregon State make up 33.7% of the town’s population – excluding those students who are only taking online classes. They also found that undergraduate students who aren’t taking any distance classes at all make up 23.5% of the population of Corvallis.    

The majority of classes for the OSU Corvallis Campus will be remote this fall. OSU projects a budget shortfall of $217 million. Students spend money in the local economy, and support local business that employ residents as workers. For example, when the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston analyzed college towns in New England, they found that 45% of wages and 38% of jobs in college towns come from high education institutions.   

For their research, Business Insider based the rankings on undergraduate enrollment as a share of the city’s population, focusing on four-year, bachelor-earning schools. Ranking last on the list was Montana State University in Bozeman Montana, where students make up 29.8% of the population, while first on the list, with students making up 93.7% of the population, is the University of Maryland-College Park in College Park, MD.   

In the report, Business Insider added that businesses relying on revenue from students have already been negatively impacted by the closures of college campuses. In an interview by Bloomberg CityLab, a hospitality company in Pennsylvania said that 60% of their annual revenue comes from the academic year and 20% comes strictly from football weekends.   

It remains to be seen if lack of these activities will continue to be detrimental to the local economies of college towns across the nation, but Business Insider projects derailed economies not just in Corvallis, but across 30 of the most prominent universities and colleges in the country.   

Kyra Blank