You have likely heard the first rule in real estate is “location, location, location.” Similarly, the first rule in higher education is “students, students, students.” Although it’s easy to get caught up in the details we contend with on a regular basis, everything we do at Tennessee Tech is ultimately about our students. That is certainly true regarding the support we most recently received from the June meeting of the Board of Regents.

I am pleased to report that the board’s approval of our FY2013-14 budgetary requests will allow us to start taking actions through Flight Plan that promise to increase student success. An increase in state funding due to improved student success, coupled with a modest tuition increase, will provide the first significant budget increase in several years. Our Flight Plan has provided the necessary lens to focus effective allocation of these new resources. The identified budget priorities include:

  • Adding new faculty positions to accommodate enrollment growth and to respond to strategic opportunities
  • Supporting student success initiatives, including improved advising and student tracking
  • Reinvesting to improve our information technology infrastructure and increasing support staff
  • Providing market competitive compensation for faculty and staff
  • Accelerating development and renovation of the campus

Here’s a brief overview of the board decisions that directly affect our campus.

University Budget Status

Employee salary/benefits:

  • All regular full-time and part-time benefits-eligible employees on the payroll June 30 will receive a 1.5 percent (or minimum $250) cost of living adjustment effective July 1, 2013.
  • Faculty and tenure promotions were approved for 19 faculty members.

Student fees:

  • In actual dollars, TTU will maintain undergraduate fees similar to most other TBR universities. TTU fees will remain lower than the University of Memphis, University of Tennessee-Knoxville, and MTSU, and significantly lower than most peer institutions in other states.
  • The TBR approved a 6 percent tuition and mandatory fee increase for our campus.
  • While our percentage increase is among the highest of TBR schools, the actual dollar amount is mid-range, at $383 per semester for an undergraduate taking 15 hours.

Other legislative actions affecting our campus:

  • TTU received authorization to initiate planning activities for our Laboratory Science Building and infrastructure.

I want to thank the Tennessee Board of Regents for their support and the confidence they have placed in Tennessee Tech. I also want to thank everyone who has participated in developing our Flight Plan, which enables us to use these additional resources most effectively. Certainly, these new resources will not cure all ills, but they provide us the opportunity to put Flight Plan into action for the benefit of our awesome students.

Go Eagles!