UT Interim President Randy Boyd testified at Governor Bill Lee’s higher education budget hearings today, highlighting FY20-21 funding recommendations made by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC). The recommendations include fully funding the state’s performance-based formula at $38 million to recognize improved outcomes at public higher education institutions, as well as a key request aimed at advancing the strength of UT’s Institute of Agriculture and its statewide impact.
THEC proposes $6.6 million in new recurring funding for the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture (UTIA). If approved, this funding would increase the number of county extension agents in rural and distressed counties and allow for at least one full-time county agent in the 4-H, family and consumer sciences, and agriculture and natural resources program areas. “The funding would provide 32 agents in the counties that need us the most. If I’m passionate about anything, I’m passionate about that,” Boyd stated. The funding would also allow UTIA to address comparative salary inequities that have compounded over time, particularly in the College of Veterinary Medicine.
No new capital projects were recommended by THEC for the UT System, although $60 million in capital maintenance funding has been proposed that would advance twelve capital maintenance projects across the UT System.
The full budget hearing can be viewed online here.
The Governor’s budget proposal is generally released following the State of the State Address. These spending recommendations are then considered by the legislature, which typically passes an amended budget by late April.