Tennessee will not drastically slash East Tennessee State University’s state appropriation for 2020-21 after all, President Brian Noland announced Friday.
“This is a significant accomplishment, because you know, it was less than just three weeks ago that we began preparation for up to a 12 percent reduction in our state appropriations,” Noland said in a video message broadcast on YouTube and emailed to faculty and staff.
ETSU had been preparing for the cuts because of the shortfall in state revenue resulting from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. But on Friday, Noland said, Tennessee Higher Education Commission Executive Director Mike Krause and Chairman Evan Cope announced that post-secondary budgets would be held harmless in many respects.
Noland noted that the ETSU Board of Trustees in April made the university the first in the state to impose no fee increases on students for the coming academic year.
“That precedent that we established has now been followed by every other institution in the state,’ Noland said, “and as a result, the state is coming together to help us to ensure that we can continue to keep our doors open, to promote access and to promote affordability.”
The ETSU president said Gov. Bill Lee and the state legislation had made clear to the nation the importance of higher education in “opening doors of opportunity and making the economy move.”