The Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) met today for their quarterly meeting where they approved the FY 2013-14 operating and capital budget recommendations to be submitted to the General Assembly and the Governor this coming year. The Governor’s hearing and subsequent approval by THEC represent the first steps in formulating the Governor’s budget proposal.
The THEC operating budget recommendation includes a $35.5 million increase in state appropriations to fund the growth in the outcomes based formula, and a $14.1 million increase for program initiatives and operating costs at non-formula units. Now in its third year of implementation, the outcomes based funding formula as outlined in the Complete College Tennessee Act of 2010 replaced enrollment figures as the basis for THEC’s funding recommendations. The $35.5 million represents a new infusion of dollars into the funding formula irrespective of the proposed budget reductions submitted by the Administration.
The recommended capital budget includes two major UT projects. These projects account for $135.9 million (or 47%) of the recommended total budget of $289.1 million. The first UT capital project on THEC’s priority list is the UT Health Science Center’s renovation to the Crowe, Nash, and Mooney Building Complex. The complex will house administrative offices and research laboratories.
The second UT project, ranked fifth on THEC’s priority list, would provide a new multidisciplinary science laboratory facility at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The building would be located at the intersection of Cumberland Avenue and 13th Street and would house research and teaching laboratories, associated support services, faculty and departmental offices, and a vivarium.
Regarding capital maintenance, THEC’s recommendation for the University of Tennessee amounts to $44.3 million (or 42%) of the total recommended $104.8 million. Last fiscal year, higher education received a total of $71.4 million in capital maintenance funding, representing the largest investment in capital maintenance since 2004-05.
A note on the budget: The Governor’s budget proposal will be presented to the legislature in late January. Budget discussions amongst the legislature will occur thereafter, the final budget passing in the spring. The UT Board of Trustees will consider tuition matters in June 2013, a decision largely based on the actual appropriations provided by the state.