UT Board Committee Approves Fees, Budget

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Two University of Tennessee board committees approved fee increases that will generate $17.6 million in new revenues toward next year’s $1.1 billion budget.

The executive and finance committees’ action goes to the full board Thursday. The proposed fees range from 20 percent for out-of-state students at UT’s Knoxville and Memphis campuses to 7 percent for Tennesseans in medical programs at Memphis.

UT President Joe Johnson said before the committee meetings that he would make the budget recommendation reluctantly.

“The fee recommendations are large, larger than anyone wants,” Johnson said. “There is no other source of funds, and the only alternative is to let the quality of our academic programs drop.”

Fifteen percent increases are proposed for in-state undergraduate and graduate students at UT-Knoxville, for the colleges of law and veterinary medicine, and for the Space Institute.

UT-Chattanooga and UT-Martin fees would go up 9 percent for in- and out-of-state students.

With the increases, UT-Knoxville fees should rank seventh among its 10 peer institutions for in-state undergraduates, according to information supplied by the schools. Fees at Knoxville will be about 94 percent of the peer average.

Undergraduates will pay about $42 more yearly than students at the University of Georgia and $68 less than those at the University of Texas.

The fiscal year 2000 budget is only 1.4 percent — $14,360,000 — above the current year total. Only $828,300 of the increase is in new state appropriations.

Total state appropriations to UT next year will be approximately $374 million, compared to $373.2 for the current year.

There are no capital outlay dollars for new construction or building renovations, but there is $11.9 million for maintenance projects such as roof replacements.

Education and general funds, which support academic programs and services, account for 60 percent ($635 million) of the proposed budget. Thirty percent ($314 million) is from hospital revenues, and $111 million (10 percent) from auxiliary enterprises, such as residence halls, food services and intercollegiate athletics.

Tennessee is at the bottom of 15 Southern states in the growth of higher education funding over the past two years, a national tax support database shows.

Funding in Tennessee increased only 2.7 percent over the two years. Kentucky, at 25.6 percent, had the largest growth, followed by Florida (23.9 percent), Virginia (21 percent) and Mississippi (17.7 percent). Only West Virginia (5.9 percent) joined Tennessee with a single-digit increase.