While tuition is not always a joyful subject for students, advancements concerning it on Monday will likely come across as pleasing to the UT community.
The UT Board of Trustees Subcommittee on Tuition, Fees and Financial Aid recommended a fourth year of low, self-limiting tuition increases for consideration to the Finance and Administration Committee, which will meet for the Board of Trustees annual meeting on June 21 through June 22.
If the Finance and Administration Committee pushes forth the recommendations to the full board and they are approved by the trustees on June 22, UT Knoxville, as well as UT Chattanooga, will not see a tuition increase for undergraduates during the 2018-2018 fiscal year. UT Martin would see a 3-percent increase.
“Zero percent increase is an accomplishment,” UT Board Vice Chair Raja Jubran said. “I know it takes a lot of work to balance the budgets. We appreciate it and the students really appreciate it.”
Annual in-state tuition and fees at UT Knoxville will stay at $12,970 and $31,390 for out-of-state students if the proposal passes through the Board of Trustees. The proposal would mark the first time in 34 years that tuition has not increased at UT Knoxville or Chattanooga.
Jubran echoed the board's hopes to cut back on the escalating money that students were having to pay each year.
"If you look at all the increases in the past three years, we really made sure we focused after we revised the business model to reduce the increases that our students pay because the eight years prior to that the average student tuition fee was increased by 8 percent," Jubran told the USA TODAY NETWORK-TENNESSEE.
"And that was just unsustainable."
Students at UT Knoxville could still have to deal with fee increases, in the form of a $22 increase in the student programming fee and a $14 increase in capital the capital fee, each per student, if the recommendations are approved.
But UT Chief Financial Officer David Miller was focused on the positives of Monday's outcome for students.
“This is the first time since the mid-80s that we’ve had a zero percent increase in tuition and this will the fourth year in a row of tuition increases,” UT Chief Financial Officer David Miller said. “Additionally, the University of Tennessee can be very proud that 44 percent of undergraduates leave with no debt.
“That beats the national average of 30 percent.”