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Increase in first-year students at NMU & MTU expected to help UP economy

More incoming students could bring in thousands of dollars into the U.P’s economy.
Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 4:36 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - More incoming students at Northern Michigan University and Michigan Tech University could bring in thousands of dollars into the U.P’s economy.

This year, NMU saw a more than 10 percent increase in first-year students while MTU has its largest incoming freshman class since 1982.

“It’s not only about the education they provide, but it really is about the economy,” said Marty Fittante, InvestUP CEO.

Fittante says a MTU study shows each students brings in about $9,700 to the economy. MTU increasing its overall enrollment by 102 students could mean $989,000 more for the local economy. Fittante says the focus is now making sure those new students stay in the U.P. after college.

“How do we convert those learners to locals at the end of the day?” said Fittante.

Fittante says universities are looking into ideas including larger internship and apprenticeship programs.

With students returning to the classroom less than a month ago, a restaurant in Marquette is already seeing their impact. Aubree’s owner says sales were up 60 percent this summer, but he had half the number of employees. He says NMU students are helping that.

“It’s been huge. It’s been quite the relief,” said Bryan French, Aubree’s Owner. “Now we are facing difference issues with training because we will probably be training for the next three to four months. We are starting to get some really quality, fine people from Northern Michigan.”

French says Aubree’s is still hiring and says this is the time of year when the restaurant sees fewer tourists and more students and families from NMU.

Fittante says the increase in new students should be a relief to the universities, and the U.P., after an uncertain future during the pandemic.

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