UT Trustees to Consider Tuition, Financial Aid

KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee will present a budget plan to its board of trustees this week calling for proposed tuition increases that would vary at its campuses, cost cutting measures, and a plan to hold harmless from the proposed increases the neediest entering Tennessee freshman on the Knoxville campus.

The budget plan will be presented at meetings of the university’s trustees in Knoxville Wednesday and Thursday. For a complete schedule of events and other trustee meeting information, go to: http://pr.tennessee.edu/news/article.asp?id=2184.

The meetings of the full board will be viewable on the Internet through a webcast. For more information on viewing the webcast, go to: http://oit.utk.edu/dst/webevents.html.

Tuition will be set based on needs and costs at the individual locations, with different rates proposed for each campus.

– At UT Knoxville, the proposal is for a total annual dollar increase in tuition and fees per student of $542, an increase in tuition of 13 percent. Total student fees (effective rate) would increase 11.4 percent overall for in-state students and 12.6 percent for out of state students.
– At UT Chattanooga, the proposed total dollar increase in tuition and fees is $407 for the year, an increase in tuition of 9.3 tuition percent. The student’s effective rate would increase by 9.9 percent for in-state students and 9.5 percent for out-of-state students due to a proposed $50 per semester increase in UTC’s athletic fee in addition to the tuition increase.
– At UT Martin, the total increase in tuition and fees for the year would amount to $342, an increase in tuition of 9.7 percent. The student’s effective rate would increase by 8.2 for percent for in-state students and 9.2 percent for out-of-state students.

“In developing this budget, we have worked hard to balance the requirements for quality of our product with the realities of the impact of higher cost,” said UT President John D. Petersen. “That equation includes substantial cost cuts at all our campuses as well as holding off on implementing a number of important programs.”

Among the cost-cutting examples is $19.3 million on the Knoxville campus over the past four years, including the consolidation of two colleges. A Knoxville campus reorganization this spring cut more than $250,000 from administrative costs in the FY 05-06 budget.

“We have remained below the tuition guidelines set by THEC and are consistent with the levels set by the Tennessee board of regents for universities, such as the University of Memphis and Middle Tennessee State University. Even with the increase, UT’s rates are below the average for combined fees and tuition of our peer universities,” Petersen said.

“We are sensitive to the concerns about higher fees,” Petersen said, “but also must maintain the quality expected by our students. Within the increase proposed, we have provided for additional aid that will protect the neediest level of incoming, in-state students on the Knoxville campus.”

Petersen said the flat funding from state appropriations to meet rising costs of utilities, maintenance and other fixed expenses, in the short term, led UT to make difficult decisions about tuition.

“Longer term, we are committed to a process that provides the opportunity to share information with the board and with the education leadership of the legislature as early as possible so that together we can find the best ways to meet the needs. By December, we expect to present our needs for next year so the legislature will have time to study them and determine funding options other than tuition.”

Some of the highlights of the budget and planned presentations from university officials include:

– Overview of the budget process with the rationale for proposed rates from each campus.
– Overview of cost cuts and reallocations designed to redirect funding to academic priorities.
– Consideration of David Millhorn for the vice president for research of the UT system. Millhorn, an internationally-renowned biomedical researcher, is currently director of the Genome Research Institute at the University of Cincinnati.
– Legislative-mandated pay increases for university staff. The university funds the portion of these increases not funded by the state.
– Creation of an expanded, need-based scholarship program that will offer increased aid to entering freshmen at UT Knoxville whose families have an adjusted gross income of less than $27,000. This aid, when combined with other packages, will cover mandatory costs for these students, including tuition, fees, room and board.

A more detailed summary of campus tuition and fee information is available as an Acrobat pdf download here.