PULASKI, Tenn. (WKRN) — A letter of intent signed Friday marks the beginning of discussions for the possibility of Martin Methodist College, a private school, joining the University of Tennessee system.  

The partnership would provide additional opportunities for southern Middle Tennessee families to access more undergraduate and graduate programs, on top of more affordable tuition.  

This agreement would first have to get approval from the board of trustees from both schools, the Tennessee state legislature, and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. 

“Martin Methodist is in good shape, but the pandemic has accelerated conversations about the future across the higher-education system,” Martin Methodist President Mark La Branche said. “The trustees and I had been talking about sustainability for a long time. When presented with the opportunity to expand the breadth and quality of our mission, the trustees were eager to explore.” 

If approved, Martin Methodist would become the fourth undergraduate college within the UT system. Martin Methodist currently serves 12 counties in southern Middle Tennessee.  

“We are always looking to expand educational opportunities for Tennesseans,” UT President Randy Boyd said. “Martin Methodist is a historic institution that for 150 years has provided opportunities and excellence to Tennesseans in critical areas such as nursing, education, criminal justice, social services and business. Its graduates are vital to the long-term economic success of the region.” 

The signed letter of intent allows both schools to begin discussing things like the possible transfer of Martin Methodist’s assets to the UT system, where they would be governed by the UT Board of Trustees and the financial responsibility of the state of Tennessee.