AMES, Iowa -- Over the past few years, the Ames economy has seen less state dollars coming to Iowa State University. However, the loss of that money has been offset by an increase in enrollment of 10,000 students.
“137 million is my estimate as to how much we’ve lost in current dollars from drop-off in state appropriations,” said ISU economist Peter Orazem. “We’ve added $294 million in tuition from those additional students.”
Orazem spoke before the Ames Chamber of Commerce on the current state of the economy in the Ames area. He said the additional students have kept the economy going since 2010 and that things were pretty stagnant from 2000 to 2010. Additionally, the 10,000 students are funding 1,900 jobs at Iowa State.
“I’m beginning to get a little irritated at some of these negative comments about students that we’ve constantly been hearing,” he said. “I think it’s time we start giving them a little love, they’re paying for a big chunk of jobs.”
Orazem said he gets tired of people complaining about the students in their neighborhood when their tuition is helping pay for jobs of those same people. He also said that while enrollment is way up, crime complaints are way down, noting noise complaints are down 31%, public intoxication is down 35%, and liquor violations reduced by 62%.
“I compliment the police and the relationship between the landlord's association," said Orazem. “Part of it is more students living in apartment complexes where behavior is more closely monitored than in rented houses.”
Orazem has also served as an Ames City Councilman for eight years. He did not seek re-election this fall.