Board of Regents quarterly meeting June 20-21. Agenda includes tuition & fees, new construction recommendations

The Tennessee Board of Regents will hold its regular quarterly meeting June 20-21 at Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin. The agenda includes board action on student tuition and fees for the 2019-20 academic year and construction project recommendations for the state’s 2020-21 fiscal year.

The board’s committees will meet Thursday, June 20, followed by the full board meeting on Friday, June 21. Except as noted in the schedule below, the committees and the board will meet in Wemyss Auditorium of the Noble C. Caudill Hall Building on the Volunteer State campus at 1480 Nashville Pike in Gallatin.

The Board of Regents governs the 13 community colleges and 27 colleges of applied technology comprising The College System of Tennessee. Meetings of the board and committees are open to the public. Those wishing to attend may contact Board Secretary Sonja Mason at sonja.mason@tbr.edu or 615-366-3927 to facilitate access or request accommodations.

Full, detailed agendas and board materials, including tuition and fee recommendation details, are posted on the TBR website at https://www.tbr.edu/board/june-quarterly-board-meeting-0. The meetings will be live-streamed and archived on the same link.

Other major items on the agenda include consideration of funding for operations 2019-20 and the final budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year; faculty promotion and tenure recommendations; compensation plans; college president emeritus contracts; proposed new programs at the colleges; policy revisions; three college building namings, and the election of the board’s vice chair for 2019-20.

The board’s Committee on Finance and Business Operations on June 4 recommended combined tuition and fee increases at the state’s community and technical colleges averaging 2.45 percent. At its June 20 meeting, the committee will make its recommendations final when it reviews and approves minutes of its June 4 meeting.  The recommendations will then be considered by the full board on June 21.

The committee’s recommendations would raise tuition by $102 and mandatory fees by $7 per academic year (two semesters), for a total increase of $109, at the community colleges. Tuition at the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology (TCATs) would rise by $75 per academic year (three trimesters) and mandatory fees by $19, for a total increase of $94, if the committee’s recommendations are approved. Mandatory fees are paid by all students attending a particular college.

The proposed tuition and fee increases would total 2.45 percent at the TCATs and between 2.44 and 2.48 percent at the community colleges – the lowest percentage increase at the community colleges since 1991 and at the technical colleges since 2013, when there was no tuition increase.

For an academic year, tuition and mandatory fees for Tennessee residents would range from $4,504 to $4,588 at the community colleges and $3,937 at the TCATs if the full board approves the committee recommendations. Many students attend free of tuition and mandatory fees through the Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect programs and other state and federal financial assistance.

The tuition increase is recommended to pay for some inflationary cost increases, the institutions’ share of a 2 percent compensation increase approved by the state legislature, and at the community colleges, a special initiative to increase pay for adjunct faculty. The proposed hike in the technology access fee would be the first since 2003 and is recommended to cover technology cost increases, the significant increase in the use of technology on campus and investments in cyber security. The technology fees would rise by $3.50 per semester, to $116, at the community colleges, and by about $6 per trimester, to $73, at the TCATs if approved.

The board’s consideration of construction projects on campuses is the next step in the selection process. The list of projects the board approves will be forwarded to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, which will review the TBR projects along with those proposed by the state’s public universities and submit its overall recommendations to state budget and finance officials for consideration for inclusion in the governor’s overall state budget proposal for fiscal year 2020-21. The governor’s recommendations will go early next year to the state legislature, which will decide what projects are ultimately funded when it approves the state budget next spring, for the fiscal year starting July 1, 2020.

The schedule for the board and committee meetings:

June 20

  • 9:45-10:45 a.m. – Economic and Community Development Committee – Steinhauer-Rogan-Black Humanities Building, Room 257.
  • 1-4 p.m. (consecutively) – Finance and Business Operations Committee, Personnel and Compensation Committee, Academic Policies and Programs and Student Life Committee, External Affairs Committee – all in Noble C. Caudill Hall Building, Wemyss Auditorium.

June 21

  • 9 a.m. – Welcome and presentations by Volunteer State Community College and TCATs Livingston and Hartsville -- Noble C. Caudill Hall Building, Wemyss Auditorium.
  • 9:30 a.m. – Tennessee Board of Regents quarterly meeting -- Noble C. Caudill Hall Building, Wemyss Auditorium.

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 100,000 students. The system is governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.