The University of Tennessee at Martin Advisory Board met April 24 to discuss the university’s enrollment strategy, fundraising plans and proposed budget during its regular summer meeting. A webcast of that meeting will be made available at utm.edu/advisoryboard.
Dr. Jamie Mantooth, executive director of enrollment services and student engagement, presented the university’s enrollment strategy and gave prospective numbers for the fall 2019 freshman class. Mantooth says UT Martin is making contact with all eligible sophomore, junior and senior-level high school students across the state of Tennessee and is showing a positive trend to meet fall 2019 enrollment goals for both incoming freshmen and transfer students.
According to Mantooth, more than 8,800 freshman applications have been received for the fall 2019 semester – an increase of more than 1,100 applications as compared to fall 2018. Of those applications, more than 5,700 students had been admitted as of April 22 and 1,172 of those indicate the intention to enroll in fall courses. Transfer student numbers are also positive, with 672 transfer students admitted as of April 22 and 269 of those indicating the intention to enroll.
New enrollment and retention initiatives include the inaugural Transfer Student Bootcamp to be held this summer and financed by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission and a partnership with ReUp Education, an organization that specifically recruits students with incomplete college degrees to finish their education at UT Martin.
Andy Wilson, vice chancellor for advancement, reviewed UT Martin’s fundraising progress and priorities for the coming fiscal year. UT Martin raised $7.5 million during fiscal year 2018 (July 1, 2017-June 30, 2018) and has raised $6 million so far in fiscal year 2019, which ends June 30. These funds are applied to student scholarships and grants, capital projects such as new academic facilities, athletic programs and special projects across university areas.
Key fundraising opportunities for the coming fiscal year include the Chancellor’s Academic Excellence Fund, which is an unrestricted scholarship fund used to recruit and retain the state’s high-achieving students; the Innovation and Product Realization Facility, often called “The Garage”; a new fine arts concert hall; the Ned Ray McWherter Institute; an indoor athletic facility; the UT Promise Scholarship Program initiated by the UT System; and several new initiatives within the College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences.
Petra McPhearson, vice chancellor for finance and administration, presented the university’s proposed operating budget for the 2019-20 academic year, which will not be finalized until it is approved by the UT Board of Trustees during its June meeting in Knoxville. As of this time, UT Martin expects to receive $35.4 million in state appropriations, which is only a small part of the anticipated operating costs of approximately $147 million for fiscal year 2020. McPhearson anticipates a two percent increase in the student maintenance fee, also called “in-state tuition,” paid by all students, which is below the recommended level set by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. The mandatory fees paid by most students could also increase by half a percentage point, resulting in a total cost increase of 2.5 percent for the coming academic year.
The board also reviewed the processes for submitting recommendations to the UT president regarding the campus strategic plan and operating budget, which have been established by the UT Board of Trustees.
The advisory board welcomed two new members during this meeting. Katie Ashley, senior advisor for government affairs and economic development at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, was appointed to the board by Haslam and confirmed by Gov. Bill Lee earlier this year. She is a 2008 UT Martin graduate and will serve on the board until June 30, 2020.
Ashley served as state director of legislation, the governor’s chief adviser and strategist for legislative matters, from her appointment in October 2017 until accepting her current position in October 2018. The Crockett County native was instrumental in Haslam’s Drive to 55 initiative and with the passage of the Tennessee Promise and FOCUS Acts.
Lauren Carter, a rising sophomore from Olive Branch, Mississippi, was officially introduced as the new student representative to the board and will begin her term July 1. She will represent the student body on the advisory board for the 2019-20 academic year and replace Devin Majors, who plans to graduate in December of this year. Carter is one of three students nominated by the student body to serve, and Chancellor Keith Carver selected her after a round of individual interviews.
The next regular meeting of the UT Martin Advisory Board will be held Sept. 20. Agenda information will be distributed one week prior to the meeting date.
For more information, contact the UT Martin Office of University Relations at 731-881-7615.