Our overall enrollment for Fall 2016 was relatively flat compared to the previous year, which reflected our hard work to hold steady in the second year of the Tennessee Promise, a last-dollar scholarship program that covers tuition and fees for high school seniors wishing to enroll in the state’s community and technical colleges. I was encouraged to see we had almost a 2.5 percent increase in domestic freshmen this fall and an uptick of more than 5.25 percent in new graduate students.
We received an increase of more than $3.7 million in state appropriations, which is based on outcomes formula adjustments and new funds for outcomes improvement. That new money, coupled with about $2.48 million resulting from tuition increases, helped offset the $1.5 million reduction that came as a result of our .98 percent decrease in full-time equivalency. These new funds were allocated to pay for:
• A 1 percent pool salary increase fully funded by MTSU
• Faculty promotions
• Increased cost of software maintenance agreements
• Cost increases in utilities and in operations and maintenance
• Scholarships, tuition discounts, employee fee waivers and dependent discounts, and graduate assistant fee waivers
• Funding for college deans’ requests for continuing improvements on the MTSU Quest for Student Success initiatives
• Funding for three critical faculty positions
• Funding for personal computer replacement for faculty • Supplemental Instruction
Looking toward Fiscal Year 2017–18, MTSU’s share of the THEC outcomes formula adjustment will be a decrease of $1,907,300. THEC voted at its November meeting to propose new state funding totaling $48 million for the higher education formula institutions. MTSU’s share of the proposed new funding will be $4,581,900. Thus, MTSU’s state funding could actually increase by $2,674,600.
The commission also voted to recommend $12.22 million in capital maintenance funds for MTSU projects, including alarm system updates, piping and manhole replacement, roof replacements, Keathley University Center mechanical and HVAC upgrades, elevator modernizations, domestic water- sewer system updates, Miller Education Center roof replacement, and Stark Ag Center mechanical updates. No MTSU capital project was proposed for new capital outlay funding for 2017–18.
THEC’s recommendations have been submitted to the Department of Finance and Administration for consideration in the proposed state budget that Gov. Haslam will be submitting to the state legislature in the coming weeks. At that point, we will have more information regarding our likely 2017–18 state appropriation.