The population in cities like Lexington and Richmond swell this time of year when college students return for the start of another school year.
Richmond is one city that embraces those students and the dollars they bring with them.
Good Question: How much do college students pump into a local economy?
The city of Richmond is like most small towns, struggling to balance a budget.
In fact, city leaders were facing a budget shortfall of $3 million.
Mayor Connie Lawson says cuts to spending and voluntary layoffs helped her city right that ship and back to school time at Eastern Kentucky University is always a plus for the city.
"We would not have any budget to speak of without the university plain and simple," says Mayor Connie Lawson.
As you might imagine, with thousands of students converging on Richmond the city sees a huge boost.
"With all the students coming back into to town to the city of Richmond of course retail sales are up, profits are up and we have a net profit tax and that's extra income for us," says interim City Manager Jimmy Howard.
" I tell the students all the time they are paying citizens of this community, they really are," says Mayor Lawson.
Just how much money are we talking about?
An economic impact study done by the university says that direct and indirect spending associated with the university pumps in nearly $500 million yearly.
City leaders and businesses say they see that upswing almost immediately.
"About a 20 % increase in the sales when students come back, we're talking about 16,000 students that are coming back to Richmond," says Howard.
And that is money in the bank!