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MSU creates $1.8 billion annual economic impact, study shows

Contact: James Carskadon

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State University provides an estimated annual economic impact of $1.8 billion to the Magnolia State, a recently completed analysis shows.

The study, conducted by international economic modeling company Emsi on behalf of MSU, shows that the university provides a strong return on investment for taxpayers, students and society. MSU’s $1.8 billion economic impact supports 29,016 jobs, or one out of every 55 jobs in Mississippi, with every $1 of public money invested in the university generating $2.30 in value. Emsi’s study, conducted last year, is based on data from fiscal year 2018-2019.

 “MSU drives our state’s diverse and growing economy in so many vital ways, whether it’s producing highly qualified graduates in hundreds of fields, creating an innovative economic environment where research and development thrive, or directly assisting the people of Mississippi with strategic extension and outreach in every Mississippi county,” said MSU President Mark E. Keenum. “This study confirms that MSU is a great investment for the taxpayers of Mississippi as we meet our mission of learning, research and service.”

MSU’s $1.8 billion total economic impact represents the sum of several areas that were studied by Emsi, including:

  • $935.8 million in impact from MSU alumni;
  • $297.3 million from operations spending;
  • $245.3 million from the MSU Extension Service;
  • $213.1 million from research spending;
  • $45 million from student spending;
  • $42.5 million from visitor spending;
  • $32.6 million from MSU’s Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems-Extension;
  • $20.8 million from faculty and student start-up and spin-off companies;
  • $14.8 million from construction spending.

In addition to metrics quantified in Emsi’s report, MSU supports economic development in several ways. The university works closely with economic development officials at the state and local level to support industrial recruitment and retention efforts. A wide variety of university outreach programs support the development of strong communities across the state. Additionally, university researchers regularly collaborate with industry to solve problems and foster new innovations in sectors such as automotive, aerospace, agriculture and manufacturing.

“As the state’s leading research university, our extensive R&D capabilities make MSU and the state of Mississippi a trusted partner in public and private research activity,” said MSU Vice President for Research and Economic Development Julie Jordan. “Additionally, we support start-up companies founded as a result of MSU research, helping to create new economic opportunities focused on innovative technologies.”

Among the top five percent of universities nationally for agriculture and natural resources research, MSU historically has supported the state’s $7.35 billion agriculture industry. The university’s Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine manages four research and extension centers and 16 branch stations strategically located throughout Mississippi, in addition to Extension offices in all 82 counties of Mississippi. Emsi’s analysis showed that the increased productivity of Mississippi farmers and ranchers from working with Extension yielded $245.3 million in added income for the state, which is equivalent to supporting 4,889 jobs.

“Mississippi’s producers are competing in national and international markets to sell their products, and that activity is vital to the state’s economy” said MSU Vice President for the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine Keith Coble. “Through Extension and MSU’s robust agricultural research activities, we are supporting the state’s top commodities such as poultry, soybeans and forestry while also tailoring outreach and research programs to meet the needs of Mississippi’s diverse agricultural regions.”

Examining the economic benefits of MSU for students, Emsi found that the average bachelor’s degree graduate from MSU will see an increase of $19,400 each year compared to a person with a high school diploma or equivalent working in Mississippi. The study also found that societal benefits of having a more educated Mississippi population amount to $4.3 billion.

Emsi’s study applies a conservative methodology focused on recognized indicators of net economic impact. For more on the economic impact study, view the executive summary at

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at