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Haslam Responds to Calls for Legislative Session

KNOXVILLE, Tenn (AP/WMOT) — The University of Tennessee Board of Trustees have approved tuition hikes that range from 8 percent at the Knoxville campus to 3.5 percent at the university's College of Law.

UT President Joe DiPietro told reporters after the vote Thursday that nobody wants tuition hikes, but there’s little alternative.

Earlier in the week, Tennessee Democrats offered their solution. They called on Governor Haslam to convene a special legislative session to discuss applying some of the state’s surplus funds to higher education. Lawmakers want to meet in August, prior to the start of fall classes.

Governor Haslam downplayed that idea at the UT Trustees meeting.

“Do we need to address and the issue around higher ed costs in the state? You bet we do. But we also have a lot of other needs as well, and so are we just going to use it for that and ignore our other needs? Or should we do what I think responsible people do with a budget and consider all the needs we have around the state?”

Tennessee's other higher education system, the Tennessee Board of Regents, will meet next week to vote on their own round of tuition increases.

Editor's Note: Our thanks to station WUOT for providing the Governor's recorded comments.