Board of Regents appoints Heath McMillian president of TCAT Jackson, approves tuition and budgets for 2023-24

Board of Regents meets at Chattanooga State Community College

During its quarterly meeting Friday, the Tennessee Board of Regents approved operating budgets and tuition rates for the upcoming academic year, capital budget requests for 2024-25, and appointed Heath McMillian as president of the Tennessee College of Applied Technology Jackson.

McMillian came to TCAT Jackson in May 2022 as executive vice president to lead development of the BlueOval City Campus, and has been serving as interim president since October when former president Jeff Sisk was appointed executive director of the systemwide TBR Center for Workforce Development.

Heath McMillian, TCAT Jackson president

Meeting at Chattanooga State Community College, the board approved tuition increases of 3 percent for the upcoming 2023-24 academic year at the state’s community and technical colleges, to cover a small portion of inflationary cost increases the colleges are facing and the colleges share of salary increases not funded by the state.

It is the system’s first tuition increase since 2021 and only the second in four years. It is in line with the percentage increase in tuition at the state’s public universities, although overall tuition and fees at community and technical colleges are roughly one-third of the public four-year institutions, excluding room and board.

At the community colleges, tuition for in-state students will rise by $5 for each credit hour up to 12 hours per semester, to $176, a 2.92 percent increase, and by $1 per credit hour beyond 12 hours, to $38. Students taking a full course load of 15 credit hours will see an increase of $63 per semester at 11 community colleges and $66 and $68 at the two others, due to small $3 to $5 increases in mandatory student activity and student government fees there. Combined tuition and mandatory fees (fees paid by all students, excluding class-specific fees) will range from $2,363 to $2,402 per semester. 

At the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology, the flat trimester tuition rate will rise by $37. Including the current $83 mandatory fee, which is not increasing, students will pay $1,373 per trimester, a 2.8 percent increase.

Most students at the community and technical colleges attend free of tuition and mandatory fees, which are covered by Tennessee Promise for new high school graduates, Tennessee Reconnect for adults without college credentials, and other state and federal student financial aid.

The board also voted to suspend campus online course fees for the four consecutive year, but approved a $2 increase in the Tennessee eCampus rates, to $70 per credit hour.

Combined ANNUAL tuition & fees 2023-24 (2 semesters at community colleges, 3 trimesters at TCATs

TCAT Jackson’s new president previously served as executive director of economic and workforce development at Northeast State Community College, and worked for 13 years at Eastman Chemical Company. McMillian earned his Associate of Applied Science degree at Northeast State, Bachelor of Business Administration at Montreat College, and Master of Business Administration at East Tennessee State University.  His complete resumé and other information are posted on the TBR website at

“I am grateful and humbled to be selected as the next president of such a fantastic institution,” McMillian said. “I’m thankful for the faith the Board of Regents, the Chancellor, and the community placed in me to work alongside such a dedicated team at TCAT Jackson. Together, we will strive for excellence in student success, workforce development for regional employers, and economic and community development.”

In other action, the Board of Regents approved the system’s capital outlay requests for fiscal year 2024-25 totaling an estimated $174.5 million, the first step in the selection and funding process for new campus construction projects. The proposals now go to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission for review. Ultimately, all new projects must be approved and funded by the state legislature before they proceed.  The proposed projects include:

  • A replacement campus for TCAT Nashville in the Robertson-Sumner County area, estimated at $75.5 million. The college currently has a branch campus in the Portland area of Sumner County.
  • A new Wilson County Higher Education Center shared by Volunteer State Community College and TCAT Hartsville, estimated $57 million.
  • A replacement of TCAT Shelbyville’s Lincoln County Campus, estimated $42 million.

The board also approved criteria for the next president of TCAT Shelbyville, where President Laura Monks plans to retire in September. The position will now be posted for applications and nominations and a search advisory committee will be appointed, with board members and representatives of the campus community.

Other board action included:

  • Approval of proposed operating budgets for the fiscal year starting July 1 totaling 1,293,744,900, which will be adjusted in December after adjustments for enrollment, grants or other factors.
  • Approval of new policies and policy modifications.
  • Approval of several new degree and credential programs at the community and technical colleges, including an Associated of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree program in electric vehicle Engineering Technology at Chattanooga State, A.A.S. program in Automotive Technology at Northeast State, and expansion of truck driving programs at TCATs Crump and Hohenwald.
  • Re-election of Board Vice Chair Emily J. Reynolds as the board’s presiding officer for the next year.

The board’s committees met Thursday, followed by the full board Friday. All sessions were livestreamed and are archived on the TBR website at Complete, detailed agendas, executive summary and board materials are posted at the same website.

The College System of Tennessee is the state’s largest public higher education system, with 13 community colleges, 24 colleges of applied technology and the online TN eCampus serving approximately 140,000 students. The system is governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.