Study shows economic impact of University of Tennessee

Ayres Hall at the University of Tennessee (PHOTO: Dhendrix/Flickr)

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A top economist says a new study shows the University of Tennessee has a more than $1 billion impact on the state.

The University of Tennessee has more than 27,000 students and employs more than 9,000 people and through its spending supports almost another 24,000 jobs. That’s according to the report prepared by Bill Fox, the director of UT’s Center for Business and Economic Research.

“The university buys supplies of any type you can imagine, from office supplies to computers and footballs and basketballs. Every type of supply. Then $150 million dollars in construction,” said

Chancellor Jimmy Cheek says the university is also putting money into building state of the art classrooms, labs and housing for the students. He says the dozen renovation and new construction projects boost the local economy.

“That investment is obviously very important to area contractors and architects and engineers, and to many companies in this area,” said Chancellor Cheek.

In the study, Fox also details the economic impact the university has by drawing visitors to town. Economists estimate that fans that come in town for special events and stay the night spend $218 a day in Knoxville. Local football fans spend on average $40 a day, not including the price of tickets. Local fans going to basketball games spend $20.

“Put all of that together and we have about $280 million spent right here in the area of the campus as we bring these visitors to town,” said Fox.

Above all else, Chancellor Cheek says the university’s most important contribution to the state is producing high quality graduates giving employers in the state a well-educated work force.

According to the study the campus economic growth has increased from $915 million in 2007 to 1.6 billion last year and that the spending has spiked due to the university’s significant investment in new construction. UT officials said detailed revenue and expenditure data for fiscal year 2014 was used to complete the impact study.

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