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UT Responds to President Obama's Higher Ed Plan

August 22, 2013

Statement from UT System President Joe DiPietro regarding President Obama’s higher education plan

“The University of Tennessee has been making steady strides in many of the areas President Obama outlined today in his plan for higher education. In Tennessee, Gov. Haslam’s “Drive to 55” to increase college graduates and the Complete College Tennessee Act that changed state funding to reward institutions based on retention and graduation metrics all align with the UT System Strategic Plan. Affordability, access and student success are critical issues and ones the University of Tennessee and all of our campuses are working hard to improve.

“On affordability, UT is a very good value for students and their families. Tuition at our campuses is below that of their peers, and the net cost of tuition, when factoring in scholarships and grants, including Tennessee’s lottery scholarship, ranges from $609 to $2,953 a year for in-state students. In addition, the average debt of UT students is decreasing and remains well below the national average.

“Our three undergraduate campuses have among the highest graduation rates of public institutions in Tennessee, but we are pushing to do better. Our campuses are enhancing advising services and using tracking systems that issue alerts when students miss class, fall behind in classes or sign up for classes outside their academic tracks. We are evaluating alternative delivery methods, such as the Coursera platform, to determine the best ways to educate students. The chancellors and I are committed to meeting the challenges set forth by President Obama, Gov. Haslam and other state leaders, and we believe in doing so, our University, the land-grant institution for our state, will continue to provide the quality college education Tennesseans expect and deserve.”