President Randy Boyd represented the UT System at the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) budget hearing on Wednesday, November 8. At the hearing, THEC presented its higher education funding recommendations to Governor Bill Lee for his consideration to include in the FY 24-25 state budget.
The Commission’s proposed spending plan notably includes:
- $17M to fully fund the higher education outcomes-based formula;
- $75,000 increase for UT’s newest campus, UT Southern;
- $35.9M to expand the Tennessee Student Assistance Award, which provides scholarships to Tennessee’s low-income students;
- $1.5M non-recurring for the Center Healthcare Improvement and Patient Safety (CHIPS) at the UT Health Science Center to improve medical technology and provide staff training; and,
- $3M recurring for the UT Institute of Agriculture to invest in precision livestock farming.
In addition, THEC is proposing to create a new formula to address non-formula units. The University worked closely with THEC to advocate for a more sustainable and predictable operating increase model for non-formula units like the UT Health Science Center and the UT College of Veterinary Medicine. THEC’s budget utilized this new formula to recommend an increase of $3.7M.
Finally, THEC is recommending that the state fund UT’s top three capital projects. New capital is a top priority for the University because having up-to-date infrastructure matters. It supports student and faculty recruitment efforts and helps UT stay competitive with peer institutions. The three UT capital projects on THEC’s recommended list includes a new UT Chattanooga business building, a new UT Knoxville chemistry building, and a new state-of-the-art UT Health Science Center Gross Anatomy Lab. All three projects support high-demand, high-need fields in Tennessee and meet critical needs on UT campuses across the state.
THEC’s higher education budget hearing marks a crucial first step in the state budget process since Gov. Lee will consider these priorities for his budget proposal. The governor’s budget proposal is generally released following the State of the State Address, likely in late January or early February. UT Advocates can watch the budget hearing on the governor’s website.