The main problem, of course, is that no effective competition exists. The bloated higher ed bureaucracy in Tennessee only knows one strategy: whine for more money and when more is never enough they whine for even more. The gargantuan flood of lottery money just whetted their appetite.
“We feel like this is a reasonable place to be,” Cheek said, pointing out that the school is still below most of its peers in tuition costs.
The university has also been listed as one of the “100 Best Values in Public Colleges” by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine this year, which ranks schools based on tuition costs and academic quality.
And while UT’s tuition has doubled in the past decade, so have other top schools in the region — and some at higher rates. Clemson University in South Carolina, which became a top-25 public university in recent years, increased 165 percent between 2002 and 2011.
UT’s 12 percent increase, Cheek said, only helps the school from falling farther behind its competition when it comes to the total funding per student.