By Kelli Sharpe
NASHVILLE, TN — Governor Bill Lee presented a budget proposal that would enhance the growth and development of Tennessee State University during his State of the State address Monday evening.
The Governor is proposing that the University receive $60 million for a new engineering building, and $250 million for strategic initiatives. This would include infrastructure improvements, repairs, renovations of multiple buildings, as well as planning, design, and out-year construction. Another $8 million is included for building maintenance. This is the largest funding recommendation in the University’s 110-year history. It will be up to lawmakers to deliver on Lee’s budget recommendation.
“We are pleased that Governor Bill Lee made Tennessee State University a priority in his budget,” says TSU President Glenda Glover. “Governor Lee has taken a crucial step in highlighting the State’s commitment to our infrastructure needs, but more importantly to our students. His budget recommendation will enhance TSU, directly benefiting our faculty, staff, students, and all Tennesseans. This is a historic moment for TSU and our legacy. I am hopeful that lawmakers will help us build upon that legacy and be a part of it.”
Rep. Harold Love, Jr., also a TSU alumnus, agrees that Governor Lee’s proposal is important to the competitive growth of the university. “I appreciate the governor including in his budget proposal to the legislature a significant investment in the infrastructure of Tennessee State University’s campus,” says Love. “Now the work begins to keep it in the budget and get the budget passed.”
The Governor also is proposing $90 million to fully fund the outcomes-based funding formula which will benefit each of the State’s 4-year public universities.
Dr. Glover adds that the administration will bring forth a bill for lawmakers to consider that will increase the Hope Scholarship dollars to $5,100 per year for all four years at TSU. This is a much-needed increase over the current $3,500 for years one and two, and $4,500 for years three and four.
Glover is optimistic Governor Lee’s plans for TSU will come to fruition with lawmakers passing his funding bill. The legislative session ends in April.