UT Martin fuels northwest Tenn. economy, study shows

MARTIN, Tenn. — University of Tennessee at Martin students may not be ready to head back to school, but business owners around campus definitely are.

Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 2.38.34 PMA recently released study shows the university and its students are fueling the area’s economy.

“We’re a $481 million economic impact for this entire region,” Interim Chancellor Bob Smith said.

The study showed during the 2014-15 school year, UT Martin and its 7,000 students fueled the economy of northwest Tennessee.

“The typical student coming to UTM is going to have $10,000, actually $10,026, annual impact here, so for the businesses in this immediate area, that is very important,” Smith said.

Smith said in addition to the students, on average tourists, families and campus events generate an additional $3.3 million  a year.

“We’re talking about people that are out of the region, people from Middle Tennessee, surrounding states, that come in and help grow the West Tennessee economy,” Smith said.

UTM’s economic growth not only benefits the university but also helps people and businesses in the area. The manager at a local Martin restaurant, La Cabana, said they feel the impact when students go home for the summer.

“When the students are here, it really makes a difference because when they leave our business slows down probably about 30 percent, and when they come back it goes back to normal,” manager Jesus Aguilar said.

Smith said his school has proven to be a good investment. “For every dollar that is contributed by the taxpayers to UTM, there is a $5 and 10 cent return to the taxpayers.”

Interim Chancellor Smith also said an engineering and science building the university hopes to add could help generate even more dollars.

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