Legislative Update

Dear Campus Community:

As many of you know, it has been a very busy legislative session this year. Although we will provide more details and depth over the next few months, I wanted to share the following summary with you as soon as possible. Overall, the session was a good one for higher education and a good one for the University of Memphis (UofM). Following is a quick summary of issues relevant for our campus:

The Governor fully funded the formula. The net gain for the UofM is $3.7M, certainly a good outcome. The Governor has made a firm commitment to higher education. Given our performance gains, we are well positioned for the coming years.
Funding for a 1.5% salary pool was included in the Governor's budget. At this time we do not have specifics on how this salary pool will be utilized. More details will follow. As a reminder, the State of Tennessee only funds 55% of the overall costs, we absorb the remainder.
The UofM was successful with the passing of legislation that exempts us from the penalty for allowing out-of-state tuition to students in border counties in Arkansas and Mississippi. The estimated net gain for us is $4.3M beginning with the 2016-17 fiscal year. This is an annual savings to the university, and a very important step for our growth trajectory. The Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) has established a committee, of which I am a member, to review of the formula. The result of this evaluation may well be the removal of the out-of-state penalty for all universities in the coming year(s). Given our unique geographic location, removing the penalty from the formula would still be a significant net gain to the University of Memphis, estimated at approximately $3M+ per year. We are well positioned for out-of-state growth, with or without changes to the THEC formula. This is very good news for our campus.
We received a special allocation of $2.6M for the Memphis Research Consortium (MRC). These funds are designated for shared faculty positions with Bioworks and Trimetis. The MRC will be positioning for a significant funding request in next year's budget cycle, estimated at $20M.
We have requested a tuition increase of 4%, approximately half of our average increase of 8% over the past 15 years. This increase would fund our portion of the State mandated salary pool, along with providing funds for critically needed, but unfunded, infrastructure.
We received funding for a $3M capital maintenance project for electrical and gas utility upgrades.
I hope you find this summary helpful. In short, we had a very successful session. We will provide updates in the coming months. I hope the semester is wrapping up well and look forward to seeing you at Commencement.

Warm Regards,

M. David Rudd