UT board approves zero tuition increase

Published 10:23 am Tuesday, July 4, 2023

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University of Tennessee

The University of Tennessee Board of Trustees on Friday approved the requested zero tuition increase for UT Knoxville as part of the campus’s $1.92 billion budget. The board also approved updated budgets for renovation projects at Lindsey Nelson Stadium and Neyland Stadium, new academic programs and two honorary degrees.

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Zero Tuition Increases

This is the fourth year in a row that the board has approved zero tuition increases for the Knoxville campus as the university continues to provide its students with a high-quality education and experience. Substantial state support, continued strong enrollment and record-setting retention of students make another zero percent tuition increase possible.

The board approved modest targeted mandatory fee increases totaling $240 a year. A $196 annual increase to the facilities fee will address high inflation for construction needs. The last facilities fee increase was in 2017. A $44 annual increase to the transportation fee will address increased costs associated with a new transportation contract, which includes increased services and addressing growing needs on campus. The last time the transportation fee was increased was 2016.

“I’m grateful that even as the cost of education continues to rise each year, we have been able to hold tuition steady for our students. The majority of our seniors have paid the same tuition amount every year since they started as first-year students four years ago,” said Chancellor Donde Plowman. “This would not be possible without our record enrollment and retention, as well as the continued support from Governor Bill Lee and our General Assembly.”

Neyland Stadium Renovation

The board approved a request from Tennessee Athletics to increase the budget for Phase 1 of the Neyland Stadium renovation project by $49 million to $337 million.

The vision for the project is to deliver an unparalleled game-day experience and venue for the UT community and fans. Updates will include necessary upgrades to the south side and perimeter of the stadium, including the widening of concourses, construction of expanded gates and entryways, and additional restrooms and concessions areas. The project will include new updates each football season through fall 2026.

Lindsey Nelson Stadium Renovation

The board approved increasing the Lindsey Nelson Stadium renovation budget by $39 million to $95.8 million, pending state government approvals.

The renovation will make the stadium one of the premier college baseball venues in the country, with improved player development areas, more seating for fans, wider concourses, more concession stands and restrooms, and new luxurious premium sections.

Budget adjustments for both Lindsey Nelson Stadium and Neyland Stadium are based on recommendations from the architect and construction manager to account for scope details and rising construction costs.

“The interest and excitement surrounding our plans for the new-look Lindsey Nelson Stadium have been overwhelming,” said Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Danny White. “After seeking additional input from Vol Nation through our fan surveys, it was apparent that we needed to think even bigger. But one thing we’ve been strategic about throughout this process is ensuring that the final product provides our team with the most unique and tangible home field advantage in college baseball. Our fans and students always make their presence felt — and we want to maximize their impact on winning ball games.”

New Academic Programs

The board approved a new Master of Science in business cybersecurity in the Haslam College of Business. The 30-credit hour program features 10 online courses and allows students to pursue the degree part time or full time. The program is expected to launch in spring 2024.

The board approved elevating the doctoral concentration in evaluation, statistics, and methodology, currently housed under the Ph.D. in educational psychology and research, into a freestanding Ph.D. program. The change will ensure proper organizational structure and provide students with better career networking opportunities.

Both degree programs require approval from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.

Public Service Leaders Honored

The board approved requests from Plowman to award honorary doctoral degrees to Knoxville civil rights leader Robert J. Booker and former U.S. ambassador to Australia Arthur B. Culvahouse, a UT alumnus.

Booker will receive an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from the College of Arts and Sciences for his steadfast work in improving our state and country. In 1966 he was elected Knoxville’s first African American state representative. Booker is the co-founder of the Beck Cultural Exchange Center in Knoxville among many other accomplishments.

Culvahouse, an attorney, will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the Baker School of Public Policy and Public Affairs for his longstanding commitment to leadership within the state and our country. In addition to serving as U.S. ambassador to Australia, Culvahouse served as White House counsel to President Ronald Reagan. He joined Senator Howard H. Baker Jr. as a staff attorney to the Senate Watergate Committee at the age of 24.