State Budget Approved, Supports Numerous UT Priorities

The Tennessee State Capitol Building at sunset.

State lawmakers passed the 2021-22 fiscal year budget today, with session expected to adjourn early next week. The measure marks a historic investment in the University of Tennessee that will positively impact Tennessee students and the UT System for generations to come. Notably, the legislature voted to uphold all of UT’s priorities funded in the Governor’s proposed budget. This includes:

  • $5.1 million recurring/$1 million non-recurring for the acquisition and necessary start-up costs to incorporate Martin Methodist College into the UT System.
  • $5.1 million recurring to provide the UT Health Science Center with a critical operating increase.
  • $8 million non-recurring to further develop the Oak Ridge Institute.
  • $59.9 million non-recurring to fund UT’s full capital maintenance request, plus funding for the UT Knoxville nursing building and the UT Health Science Center Nash build-out.
  • Full funding of the state’s higher education outcomes funding formula.

The budget also makes key investments benefitting UT in the Governor’s proposed budget amendment. This includes roughly $2.2 million recurring to fulfill UT’s request for 32 additional agriculture extension agents, $4 million recurring to support graduate medical education in Tennessee, and $1 million non-recurring to support a scholarship fund for minority students enrolled in engineering programs at public Tennessee universities.

Finally, the budget contains several non-recurring legislative requests that support UT. An appropriations request from Sen. John Stevens (R-Huntington) and Rep. Tandy Darby (R-Greenfield), both UT Martin alumni, was approved to allocate $500,000 to help demolish aging dormitories at UT Martin. Lt. Governor Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge), a UT Health Science Center alumnus, and Reps. John Ragan (R-Oak Ridge) and Kelly Keisling (R-Byrdstown) supported an appropriations request for $500,000 to fund the UT Institute for Public Service Law Enforcement Innovation Center (LEIC)’s Distressed, At-Risk, and Rural County Training (DARRT) Initiative. The DARRT Initiative will provide critical law enforcement training to county and local law enforcement agencies in Tennessee’s distressed and at-risk counties.