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The University of Tennessee Board of Trustees approved a nearly $1.24 billion budget for the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, campus Friday that included a zero-percent tuition increase for the 2020–21 fiscal year. Both the budget and state appropriations are essentially flat over last year.

The board approved a set of guiding principles for reopening UT campuses for the fall semester amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The vote came a day after trustees held a special meeting to hear specifics from the chancellor of each campus on their plans, including adjusting the academic calendar; offering a combination of online, in-person, and hybrid courses; and accommodating students, faculty, and staff who may be at a higher risk of contracting the virus.

“This has been a time of unprecedented challenges for our communities and our university,” said UT Knoxville Chancellor Donde Plowman. “We are grateful to the board for their unwavering support in our efforts to provide students with a meaningful on-campus experience this fall, and to Governor Bill Lee and the General Assembly for continuing to invest in higher education and the University of Tennessee during this critical time.”

The board also took the following actions:

  • Approved a new emergency rule giving the university the flexibility to require immunizations recommended by the Centers for Disease Control or the Tennessee Department of Health to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19. Exceptions may be granted in some cases.
  • Approved a new undergraduate degree in elementary education in the Department of Theory and Practice in Teacher Education in the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences at UT Knoxville.
  • Elected Trustee John Compton to serve a second term as board chair for a two-year term ending June 30, 2022. Compton’s term as chair would have concluded at the end of this month.


Tyra Haag (865-974-5460,