Yesterday, UT President Randy Boyd sent a system-wide e-mail describing Tennessee Governor Bill Lee’s State of the State address that proposed record-breaking higher education funding for the 2022-2023 fiscal year. That funding includes significant support for several UTC priorities, including capital projects, student affordability, performance funding and salary pools.
I am grateful for Governor Lee’s support of higher education and to the members of our local legislative delegation for their advocacy on behalf of UTC.
College will be more affordable for Tennessee students with the proposed across-the-board increase in HOPE Scholarships to $5,100 annually. This scholarship currently provides $3,500 for full-time eligible freshmen and sophomores and $4,500 for juniors and seniors. Should the proposed increase be approved for the coming fiscal year, the potential impact on HOPE-eligible UTC students—currently 5,474 undergraduates—will be substantial.
The Governor proposed $60.8 million for the UTC Health Sciences Building with simulated lab space for the School of Nursing. Making this long-planned facility a reality would enable UTC to increase the number of nursing graduates by 60%, making a substantial impact on the regional and statewide nurse shortage.
Another $40 million is proposed for an interior and exterior renovation of the 540 McCallie Building and $10.8 million for the renovation of Brock Hall. The planned renovations of these buildings continue our progress in transforming and enhancing our campus.
Additionally, the Governor’s proposed performance formula funding of $90 million would mean $27.7 million for campuses of the UT system and as much as $4.6 million for UTC.
Finally, the Governor also proposed funding for a 4% salary increase pool for higher education employees statewide. Details for this plan will be finalized as part of the University’s annual budget process that is underway now.
While this news is exciting and cause for hope, we should all keep in mind that the Governor’s budget represents a starting point for this legislative session. Nothing will be final until the legislature’s adoption of a budget, which will then go back to the Governor for his signature.
The Governor’s proposed 2022-2023 budget will provide critical support to help us fulfill our mission to achieve excellence by actively engaging students, faculty and staff; embracing diversity and inclusion; inspiring positive change and enriching and sustaining our community.