MEMPHIS—In its first full, in-person meeting since February 2020, the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees approved the Fiscal Year 2021-2022 operating budget, as well as modest tuition increases at two campuses.

Trustees approved an operating budget of $2.7 billion, representing an 8% increase from Fiscal Year 2020-2021. Highlights of the approved budget include:

  • Support of UT Southern, the first new campus to join the UT System in 50 years
  • The addition of 32 extension agents to support Tennessee’s most underserved counties
  • The largest percentage-increase salary plan since 1994
  • The largest ever state funding increase
  • Funding to resume full campus operations since COVID-19 affected UT campuses across the state in March 2020

“We are thankful to Gov. Bill Lee and our Tennessee General Assembly for their continued commitment to higher education, and for their great faith in the important work being done at UT to serve the state of Tennessee,” UT Board of Trustees Chair John Compton said. “This budget represents bold and innovative ways to fulfill our mission, while remaining fiscally responsible to the taxpayers of Tennessee.”

The board also approved a 2% increase to tuition and mandatory fees at UT Chattanooga, which equates to $176 for students enrolled prior to fall 2019 and $192 for all other in-state undergraduates. A 1.7% increase to tuition and mandatory fees was approved at UT Martin, equating to a $164 increase. The increases for both campuses are within the up-to-2% range set by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.

UT System President Randy Boyd’s annual evaluation was also approved by the board.  Boyd’s performance was measured against the goals identified in the 2019-2025 strategic plan, with special consideration given to his leadership during the novel coronavirus pandemic that abruptly suspended in-person instruction and moved all learning to a predominantly virtual environment. In 2020, the UT System experienced a record 1.9% increase in overall enrollment, as well as record increases in first-year students and degrees conferred.

“Throughout the pandemic, the critical work of the University continued,” Compton said. “Under the leadership of President Boyd, the University demonstrated its resilience, revival and resurgence—students learned, research advanced and outreach expanded. He provides visionary leadership not only in good times, but when hope and optimism is most needed.”

Trustees also discussed and approved search criteria and timeline for the next chancellor of the UTHSC. Current Chancellor Steve Schwab recently announced his retirement, and will continue to serve as chancellor until June 30, 2022, or until a successor is on board.

“We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Dr. Schwab for all he has done for us and for our great state,” Boyd said. “Hiring the next transformational leader for UTHSC will be our top priority.”

In other business, trustees approved:

  • Capital outlay funding requests from fiscal year 2022-23 through fiscal year 2026-27
  • Capital maintenance funding requests from Fiscal Year 2022-23 through Fiscal Year 2026-27
  • Master affiliation agreement between the University and Methodist Healthcare-Memphis Hospitals
  • Grants of tenure
  • Honorary degree recommendations
  • New academic programs
The University of Tennessee is a statewide system of higher education with campuses in Knoxville, Chattanooga, Martin, Memphis and Pulaski; the UT Space Institute in Tullahoma; the UT Institute of Agriculture with a presence in every Tennessee county; and the statewide Institute for Public Service. The UT system manages Oak Ridge National Laboratory through its UT-Battelle partnership; enrolls about 50,000 students statewide; produces about 11,000 new graduates every year; and represents more than 400,000 alumni around the world.