MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Middle Tennessee State University, the state's largest university, is getting bigger.
Campus officials announced the Murfreesboro school has 26,442 students enrolled this fall, breaking another enrollment record.
While the number is only 12 students more than last fall, it's nearly 4,000 more than in 2006 and 5,000 more than in 2002.
The increase on-campus is also felt off-campus by many local businesses who rely on students and faculty to spend money with them.
When The Boulevard Bar and Grille opened in October last year, Amy Pappas says she and her family knew they would be getting a lot of support from the MTSU community.
“We see a huge pop once football season starts and when the kids come back to school and professors, also. When campus blows up, we blow up.”
That's why Pappas said their family chose to open the bar and restaurant within walking distance of campus.
“We wanted to be close to campus for a reason,” said Pappas.
The Boulevard Bar and Grille also employs about 50 people, many of whom are students, like Hailey Gray-Pritchett.
Gray-Pritchett said the job is more than just a way to make extra spending mone. It's helping put her through her senior year of college.
“I had to pay for school, so I had to write MTSU a $4,000 check, so this is really important,” Gray-Pritchett told Nashville's News 2.
This side effect of record enrollment is not lost on university officials.
Dr. Debra Sells, the vice president for students affairs at MTSU, said, “MTSU pumps millions and millions and millions of dollars both into the local Murfreesboro economy and in the middle Tennessee economy. It's also an important driver for jobs and for spending.”
MTSU is celebrating its 100th year this year.
Sells added, at this rate of enrollment increase, the university will have to begin discussing a cap on the number of students it can accept.