The UTHSC Advisory Board met Thursday afternoon at the Student-Alumni Center.
Top on the agenda included action items on the Strategic Plan and a Tuition Proposal Recommendation.
Lori Gonzalez, PhD, vice chancellor of Academic, Faculty and Student Affairs, presented revision updates to the Strategic Plan and schedule, based on recommendations from the board meeting from October.
Strategic priorities of the plan include: Educate outstanding graduates who meet the needs of the state and its communities; grow the research portfolio focusing on targeted areas; create areas of clinical prominence while expanding outreach; increase visibility and recognition of UTHSC’s contributions; and align resources with areas of excellence.
Anthony Ferrara, senior vice chancellor for Finance and Administration and chief financial officer, presented the tuition proposal for fiscal year 2021.
Campus leadership prefers to maintain a zero percent increase with the anticipation of incremental operation funding support from the state, as recommended by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. However, a tuition increase was discussed should there be absence of additional operational funding. In this case, the board voted to recommend a tuition increase in the range of 0 to 2 percent for undergraduate programs and a 0 to 3 percent increase for graduate and professional programs, which would generate about $1.8 million in revenue.
“Operational funds is a priority item on the proposal to the governor,” said UTHSC Chancellor Steve Schwab, MD. “We think we can maintain a low, perhaps even no tuition increase, if those operational funds are restored to our budget.”
The university has not received any increases in operational funds for four years.
A reduction in out-of-state tuition for the College of Medicine was also recommended, which would reduce out-of-state tuition by $7,169.
Several programs in the College of Health Professions will have tuition reductions. Tuition for the Master’s in Cytopathology Practice would be reduced from $13,814 to $9,900 for in-state tuition, and out-of-state tuition would be reduced from $31,796 to $14,400. A reduction in out-of-state tuition for the Bachelor in Medical Laboratory Sciences program would reduce tuition from $26,156 to $12,000. The Master in Clinical Lab Sciences program reduction will bring tuition from $28,008 to $14,400. Reductions are being made to attract more students, therefore increasing enrollment numbers for the programs.
Chancellor Schwab stressed the benefit of the College of Nursing’s accelerated BSN program, which is 12 months compared to other nursing programs in the region in which students pay tuition for multiple years in order to earn their degrees.
Chancellor Schwab and James Ragain, DDS, dean of the College of Dentistry, also highlighted the university’s efforts in increasing care in rural or underserved areas, including the addition of another teaching hospital through West Tennessee Healthcare’s Jackson-Madison County General Hospital, and the possible addition of extramural dental clinics throughout Tennessee and even Arkansas.
The next advisory board meeting is scheduled for May 21 at 1 p.m.