The Tennessee Board of Regents today approved tuition, fees and preliminary budgets for the 2021-22 academic year at the state’s community and technical colleges, updates to the systemwide strategic plan, and new training programs at the technical colleges.
The tuition increase is the first in two years and equates to $24 per trimester at the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology (TCATs) and $42 per semester at the community colleges for students taking 15-hour course loads. There is no increase in other mandatory fees (fees paid by all students at an institution, in addition to tuition) at the TCATs. And only two of the 13 community colleges sought and won approval for small $3 per semester fee hikes beyond the tuition increase, pushing the combined increase at Nashville State and Pellissippi State Community Colleges to $45 per semester. Both were approved in student referendums to increase funding for student activities. (More details below)
In addition, the Board suspended campus-specific online course fees for the next academic year at the seven community colleges assessing them, saving students a total of $2.6 million and removing a financial barrier for students opting for online courses. The suspended fee varies from $10 per credit hour up to 25 percent of tuition, and the Board plans to review the fee again next year.
Tuition and fees were not increased last year, meaning that rates were unchanged since July 2019. Aside from last year’s stable rates, the increase is the smallest hike at the community colleges in more than 30 years and at the TCATs in eight years. Many students are able to attend free of tuition and mandatory fees through the Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect programs and other federal and state financial aid. Tennessee Promise is for new high school graduates and Reconnect is for adults without a college degree or credential. More information on those and other programs is available here.
The Tennessee Board of Regents governs the College System of Tennessee, comprising 13 community colleges and 27 colleges of applied technology. The full agenda, board materials and archived recordings of today’s quarterly board meeting and Thursday’s committee meetings are posted on the TBR website at https://www.tbr.edu/board/june-2021-quarterly-meeting.
In other action today, the Board:
As a result of today’s action, combined tuition and mandatory fees at the TCATs for a full academic year of three trimesters will total $4,008, a 1.83 percent increase. Combined tuition and mandatory fees at the community colleges for an academic year of two semesters (for students taking 15 credit hours per semester) will range from $4,594 to $4,678, an increase ranging from 1.83 to 2 percent and averaging 1.87 percent.
The Board also approved Pellissippi State’s request to reduce the specialized course fee for Culinary Arts from $750 per credit hour to $150, and Volunteer State’s request to eliminate its $25 per credit hour specialized course fee for Fire Science.
The Board’s goal is always to address and balance student affordability while making sure the institutions have the resources they need to provide the level of programs and services that students need and expect.
The College System of Tennessee is the state’s largest public higher education system, with 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology and the online TN eCampus serving approximately 140,000 students. The system is governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.