A joyful MTSU graduate student gives a thumbs-up to the camera as she and her classmates wait for the university’s first graduate student commencement to begin Friday, May 6. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Middle Tennessee State University already boasts almost 100,000 alumni in Tennessee alone, adding 5,230 more alums — many who will remain in the Midstate — during the latest academic year.

Many of those alumni start families, build careers and businesses, buy homes, goods and services, all while expanding the tax base. MTSU’s Business and Economic Research Center, also known as BERC, recently released a study that sought to better quantify the economic impact Blue Raider alums have across the state.

Key findings from BERC’s study include: MTSU alumni and their employees generated over $8 billion in business revenue within Tennessee in 2017; and over $3 billion in total business revenue was generated within Tennessee that year by the added value of MTSU degrees earned.

The full study can be viewed at https://bit.ly/2SgbMGD.

Murat Arik, director of BERC and study author, said the value of an MTSU degree is sizable, particularly for the many first-generation college students who come to the university “to unlock their futures,” he said.

With more than 300 combined undergraduate and graduate programs, MTSU offers degrees across the arts and sciences, from theatre to teaching, mechatronics to music, aerospace to audio engineering, language to logistics, and much more.

“More and more of these businesses are requiring advanced skill sets,” said Arik, noting that MTSU’s presence in the Midstate factored into Amazon’s recent decision to locate an operations center in Nashville. “More businesses out there are looking for employees with a college-level education.”

Not surprisingly, MTSU alums have an outsized presence in the university’s home county of Rutherford, but also in adjacent counties such as Bedford and Cannon where “for every two degree-holders you meet on the street, one will be an MTSU alumnus,” Arik said.

MTSU continues to be the No. 1 choice for Tennessee transfer students, as well as the top provider of graduates to the Greater Nashville economy and the top choice of Tennessee adults (ages 25 and up) seeking a four-year degree.

KEY FINDINGS OF BERC MTSU ALUMNI IMPACT STUDY

Alumni by state

■ A total of 99,530 MTSU alumni live and work in Tennessee.

■ Georgia (3,679), Florida (3,009), Texas (2,191), and Alabama (2,175) have the largest MTSU alumni populations after Tennessee.

Tennessee alumni

■ MTSU alumni accounted for 71 percent of human capital growth in Rutherford County, 16 percent in the Nashville MSA, and 13 percent in Tennessee for 2016.

■ Cannon, Bedford, Rutherford, Coffee, and Moore counties have the highest percentage of alumni among degree-holders at 62 percent, 51 percent, 46 percent, 41.5 percent, and 39.5 percent, respectively.

MTSU alumni

■ Rutherford (26,610), Davidson (17,078), Williamson (8,986), Wilson (5,596), and Sumner (4,363) counties have the highest number of alumni.

Core impact

■ Over $3 billion in total business revenue was generated within Tennessee by the added value of MTSU degrees earned.

■ The Nashville, Memphis, and Knoxville MSAs had additional total business revenue of $2.3 billion, $168.7 million, and $116.5 million, respectively.

■ Among counties, Davidson benefited the most with $613.7 million in total additional business revenue.

Economic contributions

■ Over $8.3 billion in business revenue resulted from activities of MTSU alumni within Tennessee.

■ The Nashville, Memphis, and Knoxville MSAs had total business revenue of $6.3 billion, $276 million, and $263 million, respectively.

■ Rutherford County had the highest total business revenue among counties at $2.1 billion.

Extended economic contributions

■ MTSU alumni and their employees generated over $9 billion in business revenue within Tennessee.

■ The Nashville, Memphis, and Knoxville MSAs had total business revenue of $6.8 billion, $296 million, and $282 million, respectively.

■ Davidson County had the highest total business revenue, over $1.7 billion.

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