On Thursday, the Tennessee General Assembly passed a historic budget for the University of Tennessee. The 2022-23 fiscal year state budget includes funding for student scholarships, salary increases for higher education employees across the state, plus millions in new investments for campuses and institutes within the University of Tennessee System. We hope UT Advocates will help us thank Gov. Bill Lee and the state legislature for their tremendous support of higher education in Tennessee.
Notably, Tennessee lawmakers passed the largest increase in HOPE Scholarships for students at public four-year universities since the scholarships’ creation. The awards will increase to $4,500 for full-time eligible freshman and sophomores and $5,700 for juniors and seniors. Scholarships currently stand at $3,500 per year for full-time eligible freshmen and sophomores and $4,500 for juniors and seniors at public four-year institutions. This significant increase will make college more affordable for thousands of Tennesseans.
Other key investments that support UT students, faculty, and staff include:
- $72 million to fully fund the UT-Oak Ridge Innovation Institute (UT-ORII). The funding builds on $8 million appropriated last year and completes the state’s investment in this initiative eight years ahead of schedule. UT-ORII is now positioned to sustainably bring together world-leading scientists and engineers with students and faculty under one umbrella to provide innovative education, training, and workforce development in areas of vital importance to Tennessee and our nation.
- A record $90 million to fund the higher education funding formula.
- Funding for a 4% salary pool for higher education employees across the state.
- Funding for key capital needs, including:
- $55.9 million for a UT Chattanooga Health Sciences building that will enable the UTC School of Nursing to grow by 60% and help address the state’s nursing shortage.
- $18 million for the UT Martin Tennessee Entrepreneurial Science and Technology Hub (TEST Hub), which will serve as a multi-institutional collaborative effort to support workforce development in West Tennessee.
- $83 million to expand the UT Knoxville Haslam College of Business facility to accommodate program growth.
- $170 million nonrecurring to assist public universities with implementing new Enterprise Resource Planning Systems. The new cloud-based human resources and finance system will provide a competitive edge by enhancing operational efficiency, reducing operating costs, ensuring accountability, increasing transparency, and improving customer service.
- $4 million recurring and $2 million nonrecurring to support the Institute for American Civics at UT Knoxville, the state’s flagship university. The non-partisan institute will be located at the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy and will support and enhance statewide efforts to highlight the role American institutions play in resolving conflict, advancing human dignity, and making public policy.
- $10 million recurring to address the state’s residency shortage, support medical students and increase health care access across the state.
- $3.9 million recurring in new operating funding for the UT Health Science Center.
- $2.9 million recurring to support the UT College of Veterinary Medicine in faculty recruitment and retention and increasing student enrollment.
- $500,000 nonrecurring to support law enforcement training through the Institute for Public Service’s Law Enforcement Innovation Center Distressed, At-Risk and Rural County Training (DARRT) program.
- $500,000 nonrecurring for UT Knoxville and UT Chattanooga, respectively, to support minority engineering scholarships.
- Funding to support a partnership between the Tennessee Department of Health and the UT Health Science Center to improve rural access to dental care. This investment will enable the campus to support outreach and training by its College of Dentistry in the state’s rural and underserved areas.
The state budget will now go to Gov. Bill Lee for his consideration and signature.