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VOL. 35 | NO. 25 | Friday, June 24, 2011




Trustees approve 12 percent UTK tuition increase

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KNOXVILLE (AP) — As University of Tennessee system trustees Thursday approved a $774 tuition increase in Knoxville, students and parents on the campus said paying more for college is just part of financial pain everywhere.

The board without dissent approved the 12 percent increase for undergraduate students at the flagship campus, raised tuition by $508, or 10 percent at the Martin campus and by $488, or 10 percent in Chattanooga. Tuition increases at the Health Science Center vary from 5 percent to 15 percent.

Walking with a group of prospective students and parents touring the Knoxville campus, Al Hutchins, 59, of Canton, Ga., said Thursday that his son is looking at several universities and tuition and fees are increasing everywhere.

Hutchins said a college education is a necessity and "you've got to pay for it."

"It's what you sign up for when you have children," said Hutchins, a pediatric dentist. He said the out-of-state tuition in Knoxville is more than $25,000.

The tuition increase generates about $53 million and helps support a $1.86 billion budget that without $138 million in state funds and federal stimulus money spends about $52 million, or 3 percent, less than this year.

The budget that takes effect July 1 includes $38 million to increase salaries by up to 5 percent for faculty and staff.

Board Vice Chairman Jim Murphy said he voted yes reluctantly for the tuition increase but it is just helping offset decreased revenue. He said the pay raises are needed to make the university's salaries competitive.

He said because the university's "best and brightest are being recruited away."

Gov. Bill Haslam told trustees that the new state budget reduces appropriations to the university system primarily because of continuing increases in health care costs but he said revenues are improving and there should not be a big cut for higher education next year.

"So far we've been encouraged by revenues," he said.

UT President Joe DiPietro has advised faculty and staff that the increases are partly to help offset operating costs and a more than 20 percent drop in state appropriations and to fund the first employee pay raises in four years.

The vote raises annual tuition and fees at the Knoxville campus to $8,396, more than a 100 percent increase over the past decade.

Senior agriculture major Kristie Mantooth, 26, of Cleveland, said she is receiving financial aid and already has education loans totaling more than $25,000.

"The more I get the more in debt I am," she said.

Mantooth said she transferred from a community college and has had to interrupt her college work to help pay for her education.

"I don't want to have to quit school again," Mantooth said while working on a project with plants outside the trustee meeting.

Graphic design major Garret Agresta, 20, of Knoxville, said as he walked on campus outside the meeting that he wants to see some new campus construction and building renovations from higher tuition.

"I'd like to see where it's going," he said.

.Agresta transferred from another area college and said he has a job at a grocery store, his parents are helping and he also has some scholarships.

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