State, University of Tennessee disagree on whether board of trustees' approval is needed for new UT Promise scholarship program

Interim UT President Randy Boyd speaks to students in Red Bank High School's library about the UT Promise Endowment campaign. / Staff photo by Robin Rudd

NASHVILLE - The University of Tennessee system's implementation of its own "last-dollar" college tuition scholarship program has come under challenge from state auditors who question interim UT system President Randy Boyd's authority to implement it without getting the UT Board of Trustees' specific approval.

Comptroller Justin Wilson's office says in the finding that trustees "neither officially approved the UT Promise program nor ensured management assessed the program's long-term impact."

"We said UT should have gotten board approval before announcing Tennessee Promise," Wilson told state House and Senate Government Operations Committee members earlier this month. "They disagreed. We don't read the language the same way they do."

photo In this 2011 file photo, Comptroller Justin Wilson, left, attends a meeting of the State Funding Board in Nashville, Tenn.