Trustees eye 6 percent tuition hike for UTC

Trustees eye 6 percent tuition hike for UTC

June 20th, 2013 by Tyler Jett in Local Regional News

Founders Hall stands at the front entrance of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

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UTC IN-STATE TUITION

2009-10: $4,506

2010-11: $4,912

2011-12: $5,398

2012-13: $5,722

2013-14: $6,065

Source: University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

WHERE IT GOES

• 1.5 percent statewide employee raise

• "Market and merit" salary adjustment for some employees

• Academic scholarships

• New faculty hires

• Staff positions for campus support services

• "Academic reinvestment" for UT Knoxville's Top 25 initiative

• Operating cost increases (utility fees, contract services, building upkeep and library purchases)

Source: University of Tennessee System Board of Trustees

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga students may have to pay 6 percent more for tuition this fall.

The University of Tennessee System Board of Trustees will vote in Knoxville today on the 2014 fiscal year budget, which includes the tuition hike for students at UTC, UT Knoxville and UT Martin.

The tuition bump applies to all students, whether they come from Tennessee or out of state, and whether they are undergraduates or pursuing advanced degrees. For an in-state undergraduate student taking at least 12 credit hours, the annual tuition would increase from $5,722 to $6,065 beginning this fall.

For UTC, this tuition hike would generate about $3.4 million.

University spokesman Chuck Cantrell said the school needs the tuition increase to pay salaries.

The money can help support a 1.5 percent pay raise for university employees across the state. It also will allow UTC to hire new faculty, which Cantrell said the school needs.

Enrollment has grown at UTC each year since 2005. Last fall, 11,660 students attended the university -- a 35 percent increase over seven years.

Cantrell said UT System schools agreed with the Tennessee Higher Education Committee and the governor's office not to ask for more than 6 percent.

"Six percent will work for us," he said.

Some UTC students also will pay new fees next year. The proposed budget calls for an "online access fee" of $56 per credit hour to take online courses.

This money will help the school maintain those programs. The online classes require administrators, operators, technicians and maintenance workers.

Statewide, the budget projects that UT System schools will get $565 million from tuition, compared with about $533 million in the current year.

Compared to last year, members of the UT System also expect to get about 9 percent more money from state appropriations, from $432 million in the current year to $470 million.

Still, this proposed budget reflects a continued trend. Universities get more money from students than they do from the state. This has been the case for the last three years.

In 2011, 48 percent of revenues came from the state, and 39 percent came from tuition. The next year, the figures flipped. Forty-seven percent of revenues came from tuition, and 38 percent came from the state.

Even with more money from the state, this year's ratio is almost the same as it was two years ago: 48 percent from tuition, 40 percent comes from state taxpayers.

Contact Tyler Jett at tjett@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6476.