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UT Board of Trustees reaffirms leadership, approves operating budgets

Category: Announcements

UT System President Randy Boyd speaking at a podium

KNOXVILLE – The University of Tennessee Board of Trustees concluded its annual meeting today in the new Agriculture and Natural Resources Building on the UT Knoxville campus.

Building on the leadership momentum established with the reappointment of Randy Boyd on Monday, the Board of Trustees continued its commitment to steady, visionary leadership by re-electing John Compton as Chair for an additional two-year term. Compton, who has effectively guided the Board for the past six years, will be joined by re-elected committee chairs: Jamie Woodson for the Education, Research, and Service Committee; Bill Rhodes for the Finance and Administration Committee; and Decosta Jenkins for the Audit and Compliance Committee.

“This renewed leadership team underscores the Board’s dedication to propelling the University of Tennessee System forward, ensuring that the University fulfills its mission and builds even more positive momentum for our state and beyond,” said Compton. “We have seen an unprecedented level of alignment between the board and senior leadership over the last five years, but we still have more work to do as we look to grow systemwide enrollment to 71,000 students, increase first-year retention across the system to 90%, and raise the number of UT graduates to 16,000 per year.”

The Board of Trustees also approved the FY 2024-25 operating budget, which included modest tuition and mandatory fee increases at campuses across the state.

On average, the rise in cost represents a 1% increase per year during the past five years. This year’s campus increases range from 2.4% to 4%, which remain within the up to 5.5% range set by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. The increases for each campus are:

  • UT Knoxville: 2.4%
  • UT Chattanooga: 3.0%
  • UT Southern: 4%
  • UT Martin: 3.5%
  • UT Health Science Center: 2.9%

Increases will cover expenses such as institutional support, program enhancements, student services and salary pool increases for employees (which are partially funded by state government), among other campus-specific needs.

“Our Board is committed to broad access and affordability for all students wishing to come to one of University campuses. We are pleased to have held average tuition increases over the past five years well below the cost of inflation”, said John Compton.

Compton reiterated that since 2019, the average amount of student debt for the UT System has declined by 4.4%. For 2022, about 47% of the UT System’s graduates with bachelor’s degrees had no debt, representing a 12% improvement since 2018.

In his report, UT System President Randy Boyd outlined UT’s role in serving as Tennessee’s talent engine.  Last year, UT supplied 13,459 new graduates to the workforce.

“During the last decade, the demand for jobs requiring a four-year degree increased by 361,000, which is more than seven times the number needing a technical certificate,” Boyd said. “A college degree remains an essential tool in helping prepare Tennesseans for the future.”

In other business, trustees approved:

  • Naming the UT Knoxville’s College of Music in honor of Mrs. Natalie L. Haslam.
  • Establishing the Department of Political Science and Global Affairs as a new academic at UT Martin.
  • Leasing the Southern Depot for the benefit of UT Knoxville and the growth of the College of Architecture and Design.
  • Revising the UT Knoxville faculty handbook.

Archived video of the committee and full board meetings can be accessed at

The University of Tennessee is a statewide system of higher education with campuses in Knoxville, Chattanooga, Pulaski, Martin and Memphis; the UT Institute of Agriculture with a presence in every Tennessee county; and the statewide Institute for Public Service. The UT System manages Oak Ridge National Laboratory through its UT-Battelle partnership; enrolls about 58,000 students statewide; produces about 13,000 new graduates every year; and represents more than 445,000 alumni around the world.

View photos from the June 24-25, 2024 Board Meetings → 


Melissa Tindell
505 Summer Place, UT Tower, Knoxville, TN 37902 

Rob Reburn

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Category: Announcements