Middle Tennessee State University is asking lawmakers to block the University of Tennessee from taking over Martin Methodist. The 900-student private college in Pulaski launched official talks in September to become a UT campus.
MTSU officials argue Middle Tennessee doesn’t need another public university and instead it should run the school as an extension of its Murfreesboro campus, about an hour away.
“MTSU is better positioned to provide any additional higher educational services to the southern part of our Middle Tennessee region, both in terms of geography and efficiency,” President Sydney McPhee said in a statement.
Martin Methodist leaders say it’s not having financial problems, but its president says the pandemic caused the university to explore a plan for long-term stability.
The schools signed a letter of intent in September to pursue the merger. Becoming a UT campus would likely mean lower tuition and more scholarship opportunities for students, plus access to additional programs.
The deal would need the blessing of the Tennessee legislature, as well as an allocation in the state budget. The timeline calls for getting both early next year, seeking approval from accreditors and finalizing the merger before next school year.