State Budget Passes; Includes Full Investment for UT Health Science Center

Last week, the Tennessee General Assembly approved a $56.2B budget for Fiscal Year 2023-2024 before adjourning for the year. The final budget as approved by the legislature contains hard-fought investments and authorizations benefitting University of Tennessee campuses. Thank you to all the UT Advocates who reached out to state leaders in support of these budget priorities!

UT Health Science Center. Most critically, the legislative budget amendment includes increased recurring funding for the UT Health Science Center, raising the operating increase to the full UT request of $10.7M. The UT Health Science Center funding is the largest recurring increase for any higher education institution this budget cycle. We hope UT Advocates will help us thank the state legislature for their tremendous support of this funding request.

Capital Projects. The budget also authorizes the University to begin planning the proposed UT Chattanooga Business Building and UT Knoxville Chemistry Building. While no public four-year higher education institutions received funding for new capital projects, UT Chattanooga and UT Knoxville are the only four-year institutions to receive explicit authorization to plan for new construction.

As amended, the budget includes the following investments benefitting the University of Tennessee:

People and Operations

  • A 5% salary pool increase for state employees, as well as investments in employee health insurance and 401k contributions.
  • Full funding for the higher education funding formula.
  • An 8.1% total operating increase for the UT System.
  • $10.7M recurring for the UT Health Science Center to support operations and core instructional programs (the UT System’s top priority).
  • $562,600 in recurring operating funds for the UT College of Veterinary Medicine.
  • $200,000 in recurring funds for property assessor education and technical assistance through the UT Institute for Public Service County Technical Assistance Service (CTAS).

Capital Maintenance/Outlay

  • $30M in capital maintenance for projects across the UT System.
  • Authorization of $5M in UT Chattanooga institutional funds to begin planning an addition to Fletcher Hall for the Rollins College of Business.
  • Authorization of $6.5M in UT Knoxville institutional funds to begin planning a new Chemistry Building to accommodate student growth.

Partnerships & Coalition Priorities

  • $20M initial state investment in City of Knoxville Pedestrian Bridge.
  • $28M in funding to construct the Tennessee Water Education and Training (WET) Center, which will be a first-of-its-kind Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) facility housed at UTIA’s Lone Oaks Farm.
  • $5.1M recurring to sustain the UT Grow Your Own partnership with the Tennessee Department of Education.
  • $5M nonrecurring to the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development to launch the Transportation Network Growth and Opportunity (TN GO) Initiative to strategically grow and sustain Tennessee’s future mobility innovation economy through research and development partnerships, which will bolster university research efforts.
  • $16M in additional funding for FY23-24 to expand service opportunities for the Healthy Smiles Initiative led by the UT Health Science Center.