Tuition and Fees
Among the most important duties of the Tennessee Board of Regents is establishing tuition and mandatory fees for students at TBR institutions. Tuition has increased steadily since fiscal year 1991-1992; during that period, state appropriations have steadily declined, which is why tuition has continued to go up.
An overview of the process and details pertaining to the tuition recommendations for 2011-12 is available at Under our Quick Links menu at http://tbr.edu/news/default.aspx?id=6503. 2011 is the first year that universities other than the University of Memphis were authorized to set differential rates.
The 2011-12 recommended increases will provide some funding to permit continuation of quality service to growing numbers of students – while also creating a need and incentive for efficiency at the institutions. (Even with the tuition increases, all of our colleges and universities are still operating with less dollars per full-time-equivalent student than they had four years ago.) An increase in tuition beyond the 7% recommended last fall by THEC is needed for the following reasons, among others.
- Campuses are dealing with a loss of substantial dollars – more than $170 million -- in Federal Recovery Act funding. The majority of our institutions have faced substantial enrollment growth while most have reduced the numbers of faculty and staff available to serve those students’ needs in recent years.
- All of higher education must address an additional 2 percent cut in state funding for the coming year. This additional reduction comes on top of nearly 30 percent cuts for TBR institutions between 2008 and 2011.
- The state-mandated 1.6 percent salary increase was not fully funded for higher education. The difference in funding needed, as well as any additional pay raises, would have to be funded through student fees.
- Campuses are facing additional inflationary costs, including increased utilities, benefits, supplies, etc. that require funding to operate.
- All institutions are working to meet greater expectations and challenges associated with the requirements of the Complete College Tennessee Act passed last year.
For a history of tuition increases, see the chart showing tuition from 1972, when the Tennessee Board of Regents was formed, to the present..