Christian colleges and universities are making a big impact on the nation’s economy, according to a new study brought on by the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.

Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City is included in that group, along with about 140 other colleges and university.

“Many of the private independent colleges are in small communities that I do not know would exist without the 30-plus private schools we have across the state of Tennessee,” said Dr. Paul Percy, Carson-Newman’s Executive Vice President.

CCCU commissioned Econsult Solutions to do the study to look at the economic, societal and community impacts of its institutions.

They found that those 140 colleges and universities collectively provide $60 billion to the nation’s economy each year.

“That’s about $166 million per day in our economy,” Percy said.

According to the study, that amount generates $9.7 billion in tax revenue, 340,000 jobs and $17.8 billion in salaries and benefits.

Here at home, Carson Newman is also making a difference.

“Well over $200,000 a day,” Percy explained what the university contributes to Jefferson County’s economy. “It’s a pretty big deal that Carson Newman is here and employs 300 people. That results in jobs at Walmart. It results in us having a Bojangles. It results in us having a Pal’s.”

Attaining university status in 2013 has been a help.

“That’s helped our international recruitment. It’s helped grow our graduate programs particularly in education,” Percy said. “The quality of education that they’re getting and the relationships that you’re able to build at a small private Christian college impact students for their entire life.”

Other findings from the report include:

  *   For every $1 in federal grant money a student receives, CCCU institutions provide $5 in aid to that student through grants and schol­arships.
  *   The student loan default rate for graduates from CCCU institutions (6.3%) is nearly half the national average (11.5%).
  *   1 in 3 CCCU students are first-generation college students.
  *   50% of CCCU students come from families that make less than $50,000 per year.
  *   While approximately one in four college students across the country volunteer, more than one in three CCCU students participate in community service while enrolled. CCCU students perform an estimated 5.4 million community service hours per year.