The UT Board of Trustees met at UTM on March 31.
The meeting was called for the purpose of voting on a proposed decrease in out-of-state tuition for the UT system. The measure was passed by those voting.
The University of Tennessee system’s board of 26 trustees serves to oversee the educational and operational activities of the statewide university system. The full board typically meets three times a year, with committee meetings dispersed evenly throughout the calendar of the full board convening. This past week, the board met at UTM with the Research, Outreach and Economic Development Committee meeting on Thursda,y as well as the Finance and Administration Committee. On Friday, the Academic Affairs and Student Success Committee met, as did the Advancement and Public Affairs Committee. After the committee meetings were finished, the full Board of Trustees convened.
The most significant result from the Board of Trustees meeting relevant to UTM concerned the resolution on reducing out-of-state tuition.
“The amount charged to out-of-state undergraduate students for the combined maintenance fee and out-of-state tuition for the 2016-17 academic year will be $13,440 ($6,720 per semester), provided that this amount will not apply to online or international students,” the resolution said.
This proposed amount would put the out-of-state tuition approximately 75 percent higher than the maintenance fee, whereas it is currently 302 percent above the maintenance fee. As such, the resolution creates a 227 percent difference.
The board of trustees adopted the resolution in the hopes that the advertised decrease will encourage an expansion of enrollment in the larger region. The exact amount of each component of this change will be determined at the June 2016 Board meeting.
This resolution comes at a time when many other universities are implementing similar measures. The Board heard the statistics behind institutions like Austin Peay State University, Middle Tennessee State University, Ole Miss, and Western Illinois all cutting the price of out-of-state tuition as well. The numbers presented also reflect that with less than 30 new students, the tuition decrease will break even, proving that it could be very cost effective while increasing enrollment.
The UTM Faculty Senate had fully supported a resolution to lower out of state tuition on Feb. 16, 2016.
The Board of Trustees also heard information regarding the proposed Engineering and Science building. The argument was made that this building could have an overall economic impact of $56.3 million in added income, and would create 901 jobs between construction of the facility and work of graduates from the facility.
According to documentation from the meeting, “Relocating the engineering and science programs [into the new building] would allow other organizations and group to modernize and grow their programs.”
2015’s Miss Tennessee winner, Hannah Robison, also spoke to the trustees about the importance of STEM education and the vitality of the proposed building.
Former UTM chancellor, Dr. Tom Rakes, was also recognized and awarded at the meeting. The board of trustees passed a resolution honoring Rakes, noting his role in leading UTM’s expansion into West Tennessee as well as growth in UTM’s online enrollment. These things, among others were large factors in Rakes’ success and involvement to the entire UT system.
The Board of Trustees is next scheduled to meet in Nashville on June 22. At this meeting they should be able to discuss and decide on the Soar in Four resolution previously reported on by The Pacer. For a full web video archive of the meeting visit http://trustees.tennessee.edu/2016-spring-meeting-materials/.