Ripple Effect

Murat Arik, director, Business and Economic Research Center, and assistant professor

You work for a university that is growing in prominence and impact. Witness the recent study by MTSU’s Business and Economic Research Center (BERC), a center housed in MTSU’s Jones College of Business, on MTSU’s economic impact on the region.

According to BERC’s report:

• 90 percent of MTSU students are from Tennessee, and 78 percent of MTSU alumni live in Tennessee. This means that we are more than fulfilling our mission to educate Tennesseans and, even better, most of those we educate stay in Tennessee. That means a better educated, more capable workforce for our state. And in the area of skilled workforce development, MTSU graduates account for one in every two adults with a higher-education degree (bachelor’s and above) in Rutherford County.

•MTSU is responsible for about 8,400 jobs across the state, which generate $1.12 billion in revenues and over $408 million in wages and salaries.

•The University is Murfreesboro’s second- largest employer, resulting in $88 million of local, state, and federal tax revenue.

•MTSU is responsible for more than $300 million in student spending, along with more than 1,800 jobs tied to student spending.

•MTSU is the overwhelming education choice of Rutherford County and the Nashville MSA.

•MTSU is a source of diverse cultural, academic, business, community, educational, and sports events and activities. That not only contributes to the quality of life of our citizens, but also brings dollars to these areas.

•The study shows MTSU brings nearly 500,000 people to Rutherford County each year. Spending by visitors accounts for more than $56 million, and that translates to almost 830 jobs.

•One of every five adults in the Nashville metro area with a higher education degree (bachelor’s and above) graduated from MTSU. In other words, we’re not just keeping students from Rutherford; we’re keeping many of those college- educated students who hail from other parts of Tennessee. That means our entire area benefits from this continuous flow of graduates.

There is no question that MTSU is unrivaled in what we bring to the table for our city, county, and region. Much of who we are now, and what we want to become in the future, depends upon the continued health and prosperity of your University. I hope each and every one of you appreciates the vast and significant economic impact that our student population brings to the local economy.

Improvements, Pay Raises Also In Governor's Budget Proposal

The governor’s budget proposal also included several other projects of interest to the University community. It recommends a 2.1 percent reduction, or $1.6 million, in our state budget appropriation. This reduction is significantly less than the 5 percent reduction that was under consideration last fall. And it is likely that the impact of that reduction will be mitigated by a non-recurring payment from the “hold harmless provisions” in the new outcomes-based formula. I will be meeting soon with the provost, deans and vice presidents to discuss budget needs and challenges and, as always, we will make efforts to minimize the effect of these potential changes.

The proposal recommends a 2.5 percent salary increase for all state employees, including employees of the higher education systems, effective July 1. As usually the case, it will not be fully funded and higher education institutions will be required to find a portion of that increase.

Last but not least, the proposal included $5,320,000 for four capital maintenance projects:

  • $2,140,000 for underground electrical updates;
  • $1,620,000 for updates to heating and air conditioning in the Murphy Center;
  • $1,050,000 to replace the Walker Library roof;
  • And $510,000 for water and sewer system updates.

As you can imagine, the governor’s budget proposal has recommendations that affect many state entities who interact with the University, so we are working to learn whether there are other potential impacts that we need to consider. I will keep you informed as we know more on the budget as it moves through the legislature and towards approval.

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