Mixed messages from the state have the University of Tennessee-Knoxville preparing for the possibility of budget increases or cuts — which could amount to as much as a $12.5 million swing.
UT-Knoxville could see as much as a $6.1 million reduction in state appropriations should Gov. Bill Haslam decide to implement the full 5 percent cut his office asked all agencies to prepare for in September.
However, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission proposed to the governor a $19.3 million increase in higher education funding last month. That would translate to a $6.4 million increase for UT-Knoxville.
Both dollar amounts are based on the Knoxville campus' portion of the new outcomes-based funding formula outlined in the Complete College Tennessee Act passed in January 2010. UT-Knoxville will benefit from an increase in its graduation rates, retention rates and research dollars, which means it would get a larger percentage of any funding increase and take a lesser cut if one is implemented.