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Maryville College impacts community

Eight counties in the East Tennessee region would be poorer without Maryville College – at least $77 million a year poorer, according to a recent economic impact study.

The college recently hired Dr. Fred Martin, a local educational consultant, to run the numbers. Looking at a five-year period (2000 to 2005), he estimated the college contributed more than $384.6 million to the region’s economy – an average of more than $76.9 million a year.

The study focused on three major areas of the college’s economic impact: local business volume generated by college expenditures ($186.1 million); local full-time jobs created by Maryville’s presence (13,418 in five years, including the college’s own 1,457 full-time jobs counted over the five-year period); and individual income generated by college expenditures ($198.5 million).

The counties most economically benefited by the college’s operation include Blount, Knox, Anderson, Hamblen, Loudon, McMinn, Roane and Sevier. Approximately 63 percent of the college’s expenditures are made in those counties, and more than 40 percent of the college’s student population comes from those counties, as well.

Martin said his analysis was based on the Caffrey model, which was developed in 1968 and considered a standard by the American Council on Education. Caffrey is considered more sophisticated and more reliable than other models that simply apply a single economic impact multiplier, Martin said.

The consultant, who has conducted similar economic studies at several public community colleges, said he was surprised by some of the results. For example, he was surprised by the difference in economic impact that tuition revenues from private institutions generate as compared to public institutions.

Also, Martin said the percentage of local revenues is considerably higher from a private college than that of a public institution because of the influx of private donations and scholarship dollars.

But Martin said he wasn’t surprised to find proof that the college is a major economic force in the region.

“Colleges and universities often fuel the economy in the communities where they operate. This study is just an indicator of what kind of an economic engine Maryville college is in the region,” he said, adding that communities with institutions of higher learning fare better in slower economic times. because of their stability.


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