Study: Off-campus students affect Mansfield more than other college towns

Mansfield Town Council member Paul Shapiro (D) looks at a document during a town council meeting in the Audrey P. Beck Municipal Building in Mansfield, Connecticut on Monday, April 11, 2016. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

A new study by a neighborhood advocacy group in Mansfield has found an increase in off-campus students from the University of Connecticut would have a greater effect in Mansfield than if other major universities across the United States were to do the same.

An informal study by the Mansfield Neighborhood Preservation Group found UConn’s off-campus student population had the 11th-highest impact of the 55 major public universities evaluated. The group considered the impact of off-campus students on the total populations of the towns or cities where their main campuses are located.

The study also narrowed the list to the 17 public universities in towns with populations of 50,000 residents or less, where UConn ranked ninth – the median of the dataset.

The study did not take into account whether off-campus students live in Mansfield or other surrounding towns.

The neighborhood preservation group’s leaders, Rebecca Shafer and Bill Roe, did not believe this skewed the data significantly.

“I think it’s slight, because I think every (university’s) set of data is probably taking into consideration the same things,” Shafer said.

UConn received a total impact rating of 0.55, which was calculated by taking the university’s total off-campus population of 13,480 students and dividing it by Mansfield’s total population of 24,558 residents.

The schools with the lowest impact on their home cities included Georgia Tech in Atlanta with a 0.03 rating, the University of Hawaii in Honolulu with a 0.04 rating, the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque with a 0.05, the University of Texas in Austin with a 0.05 rating and the Ohio State University in Columbus with a 0.06 rating.

Penn State University in State College, Pennsylvania received the highest impact rating. Its off-campus student population of 32,850 is more than twice as large as the town’s permanent population of 13,700. It received a total impact rating of 2.4.

Among universities in towns with populations under 50,000 residents, the University of Vermont in Burlington had the lowest impact with a 0.17 rating.


Kyle Constable is a senior staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at kyle.constable@uconn.edu. He tweets @KyleConstable.