As millions of Americans celebrated the service and sacrifices made by men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces on Veterans Day, the University of Tennessee System proposed a new initiative that will allow military-affiliated students–veterans, active-duty military personnel, reservists, Tennessee National Guard members and Army and Air Force ROTC cadets—to attend a UT institution of their choosing at the in-state tuition rate.
“In order to make this the greatest decade in UT history, we must continually seek ways to honor our land-grant mission by making our universities more accessible to those who wish to achieve their dream of earning a college degree,” UT System President Randy Boyd said. “We owe a great debt of gratitude to our military men and women. Lessening the financial burden of attending one of our universities is one small way we can say ‘thank you’ for your service.”
At its October meeting, the UT Board of Trustees voiced support for Boyd’s proposal and the request for legislative approval to make these changes possible across the UT System. On March 23, legislation authorizing public university boards to classify veterans and military-affiliated individuals was signed into law. Pending UT board approval, this new benefit could be extended to students starting in Fall 2022.
The UT System has about 1,745 veterans, service members and dependents who are students on each of its campuses and institutes across the state.
UT campuses are continually recognized for their support of the military. UT Knoxville was named a 2021-22 Military Friendly Gold School, which is the highest designation awarded by Military Friendly, a company that measures commitment, effort and success in creating opportunities for the military community. UT Chattanooga has a variety of veteran-support programs, from peer mentoring to specialized counseling services, and a national innovation and entrepreneurial program that offers a highly innovative immersion program built around hands-on learning, personalized interaction and exposure to inspiring role models. UT Martin was also named a 2021-22 Military Friendly Gold School for its support provided to campus veterans. In addition to the Gold award, UT Martin was recently named among the 2021 “Best for Vets” by the Military Times. UT Martin was also designated a Tennessee Veterans Education Transition Support “VETS Campus,” a designation that helps men and women who have served in the military achieve their post-military educational goals. The UT Health Science Center in Memphis was also designated a “VETS Campus” in 2015.
“UT is committed to helping ensure our campuses are among the best places in the country for veterans, or those who aspire to begin a life of military service, to acquire or enhance the skills that will make a lasting impact on our communities, our state and our world,” Boyd said.
Both the Senate and the House passed the legislation. Now, the bill goes to the governor’s desk where it will be decided if it is signed into law.Tags: Spring 2022, Tuition Benefits, UT System