Those students, staff, and event-goers spend a lot of money, and that money goes to support local businesses.
Jason Alexander, owner of The Flippin' Sweet Pizzeria, says at least a quarter of his business comes from college students alone.
"Without them, it would be difficult to for see what that impact would be," says Alexander. "We see the direct impact when they're moving in because we have their entire family here. We're one of the places they're told to go check out."
And it's not just money the school brings in. Kearney's work force is full of students working full and part-time. Roger Jasnoch with the Kearney Visitors Bureau says more people and businesses look to move to Kearney because of UNK's location there.
A 2009 UNK study found for every three jobs created by the school, one additional job was created for the city. That same study showed over $163 million of local spending is related to UNK. Student spending accounted for almost $80 million.