The University of Tennessee Board of Trustees approved a six percent increase in tuition for undergraduates Thursday. The tuition increase was part of a $1.99 billion budget package approved for fiscal year 2014. The budget reflects an 8.8 percent increase in state appropriations over a year ago and includes pay increases for faculty and staff.
Tuition increases approved for all campuses effective this fall:
-- UT Chattanooga – 6 percent increase, or $343 a year more, for in-state undergraduates ($6,065 a year total) and $412 a year more for in-state graduate students ($7,272 a year total)
-- UT Knoxville – 6 percent increase, or $468 a year more, for current in-state undergraduates ($8,270 a year total) and $540 a year more for in-state graduate students ($9,540 a year total). (Under the 15-4 tuition model approved by the Board of Trustees last year, new UT Knoxville freshmen and transfer students enrolling this fall will pay $9,780 annually for in-state tuition. The new model charges new full-time undergraduates for 15 credit hours instead of 12 credit hours to encourage four-year graduation. Students entering in fall 2013 will have the expectation of tuition increases of no more than 3 percent annually for the next three years.)
-- UT Martin – 6 percent increase, or $358 a year more, for in-state undergraduates ($6,336 a year total) and $430 a year more for in-state graduate students ($7,560 a year total)
-- UT Health Science Center – 5 percent for in-state and out-of-state tuition for most colleges
-- UT Veterinary Medicine – 6 percent increase or $1,282 a year more for in-state students and $2,856 a year more for out-of-state students
UT System President Joe DiPietro told the trustees during his report, “We have a strong budget from the state, and most numbers are better than in most years although much of the increased state funding is earmarked for specific programs and not for general funds.”
The board also approved tuition increases for all campuses as part of the University’s budget. They said tuition and fee increases are needed to fund salary adjustments, institutional scholarships, classroom infrastructure, academic reinvestment in support of Knoxville’s Top 25 implementation plan, academic promotions and student support services.
“Several factors were considered in proposing this tuition increase. Paramount is balancing what the state of Tennessee provides through appropriations with the level of fees that students pay. This total funding balance – tuition, fees and state appropriations – for the three formula-funded campuses is what is needed to provide quality educational programs to the students,” DiPietro said.
“Our six-year graduation rate is 56.3 percent system-wide. We have to do better in this area,” DiPietro said. “Completion is everyone’s business.”
Trustees debated the idea of raising tuition less than 6 percent and discussed the need for more revenue to support the mission of the University. The board approved the budget but added an amendment asking the chancellors to analyze potential incentives to encourage summer school attendance such as tuition discounts and report the findings at the fall meeting in October.
Faculty and staff will receive pay increases for the third time since FY2008. A portion of appropriations from the state will partially fund a 1.5 percent across-the-board pay increase. Employees making $40,000 or less will receive $600. The budget includes increases for market and merit adjustments determined by each campus and institute.
The board also approved compensation increases for UT Knoxville Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek and UT Martin Chancellor Tom Rakes based on a four-year comprehensive evaluation conducted by the president and included an anonymous web-based survey completed by faculty, staff, students, alumni and other stakeholders. Both Cheek and Rakes received pay increases of 10 percent. Cheek’s base pay will increase from $394,956 to $434,452 a year, and Rakes’ base pay will increase from $224,873 to $247,361 a year. The Board said both amounts remain below market targets in a market assessment conducted at UT by a consultant in 2011 and in the Chronicle of Higher Education survey of executive salaries.
Based on his annual performance review, DiPietro received a 4.5 percent increase to his base salary, $445,567 to $465,618 a year, which places him slightly above the 50th percentile of the 2011 market assessment.
Trustees approved a plan by the Knoxville campus to assume control of 4.3 miles of city-owned streets. This includes most of the campus streets between Neyland Drive and Cumberland Avenue, and a one-block stretch of Thirteenth Street north of the main campus. This move will give the campus more control over landscaping, construction, and road closures, and relieves the city of the expense of policing and maintaining roads that mostly or completely serve campus buildings. UT Knoxville has budgeted about $147,000 per year to maintain these streets. The proposal must also be approved by city and state officials.
In other action, the board approved:
-- Modification of terms of the UTC chancellor appointment to require residing in University-leased residence for one year in lieu of a $20,000 annual housing allowance for FY14. Dr. Steve Angle will assume his duties on July 1, and after one year, he intends to move into a personal residence.
-- Extension of UTC regional tuition rate program for undergraduates and graduate students. The program is offered to students in seven counties of north Georgia. and Alabama. Students pay in-state tuition plus 25 percent of out-of-state tuition.
-- Program of study leading to the degree of Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at UT Knoxville with the intent to phase out the current Master of Arts with an emphasis in creative writing.
-- UTK Faculty Handbook revisions to include a new category called “faculty of practice,” which applies to faculty hired for their professional expertise and their ability to teach and/or conduct research related to their expertise
-- Revision of UTC freshman admission requirements as a follow up to changes made two years ago to improve freshman retention. Requirements will change from 18 ACT and 2.8 GPA or 21 ACT and 2.3 GPA to 18 ACT and 2.8 GPA or 21 ACT and 2.5 GPA. The change will be in effect for fall 2014. UTC data shows students who have had at least a 2.5 GPA have a freshman retention rate of 91 percent compared to 70 percent for those who have had less than a 2.5 GPA.
-- Naming of the Department of Dermatology at UTHSC for Dr. Robert J. Kaplan, Dr. Rex A. Amonette and Mrs. Johnnie D. Amonette
Gov. Bill Haslam was re-elected chair of the board for a second term. A vice chair is elected among the trustees to run the meetings and handle day-to-day responsibilities. J. Brian Ferguson was elected the new vice chair and replaces Don Stansberry, who has finished a two-year term as vice chair. Ferguson, formerly CEO of Eastman Chemical Co., was appointed in 2011 representing the first district of Tennessee. He lives in Jonesborough.
The meeting's full agenda and materials are posted at http://bot.tennessee.edu/
An archive of the webcast of the meeting will be available by visiting http://www.tennessee.edu/