(May 19, 2023) -- During a special called meeting, the East Tennessee State University Board of Trustees voted today to lower tuition for future pharmacists attending the ETSU Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy in Johnson City, Tennessee. The reduction was made possible following the TN General Assembly’s decision to provide a $2.5 million annual state appropriation to the college, the first state funding for the college since its founding in 2005.
For in-state students, the tuition cost to pursue pharmacy at ETSU is now $27,000 per year, over 30% less than before. For out-of-state, the tuition cost is $33,000 per year, nearly 15% less. The tuition decrease is effective for fall 2023.
The tuition reduction over the course of the four-year PharmD program is significant: for in-state students, the tuition cost has decreased over $46,600; for out-of-state, over $22,600.
In addition, the state funding will go towards bolstering the college’s scholarships by $720,000, which will help lower tuition even more for prospective students.
“State funding is a new and exciting chapter in our college’s history and vital for
the legacy we leave behind,” said Dr. Debbie Byrd, dean of ETSU Gatton College of
Pharmacy. “This annual appropriation provided by the Tennessee General Assembly will
sustain our mission to serve the rural and underserved by lowering tuition and attracting
more students to ETSU and the profession of pharmacy. In addition, this investment
in our future will help prevent the ‘brain drain’ of rural Tennessee residents who
leave East Tennessee in search of cheaper tuition in metropolitan areas as well as
meet the workforce demand in the region.
"I am thankful to our elected officials, the college, the university, alumni, supporters and the local community who have worked tirelessly to support us through this process,” Byrd said.
“The investment made by the Tennessee General Assembly to support the Gatton College
of Pharmacy will have a major, positive impact on Northeast Tennessee,” said ETSU
President Dr. Brian Noland. “Since 2007, ETSU Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy has
educated pharmacists to meet the needs of our rural and underserved communities. Through
this historic appropriation, students in our region will have greater access to affordable
pharmacy education that is close to home.
"I would like to thank state officials and particularly Representatives Gary Hicks, Tim Hicks and Rebecca Alexander, as well as Senators Rusty Crowe and Jon Lundberg for serving as champions for the college, our students and the overall health and wellbeing of our region.”
Student pharmacists at ETSU are thrilled about the news, as well.
“The reduction of Gatton tuition will allow me to focus on picking a career that will most impact rural communities rather than attempting to find the highest paying job to pay back my loans,” said Abby Shields (’26) from Cleveland, Tennessee. “I chose ETSU Gatton College of Pharmacy due to their tremendous effort in giving back to rural communities, and their mission to train pharmacists who are capable of running small businesses that better the economy.”
The nationally recognized ETSU Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy was founded in 2005 with a mission to develop progressive, team-oriented pharmacists who improve health care, focusing on rural and underserved communities. Learn more at etsu.edu/pharmacy.