The Tennessee Board of Regents today approved increases in tuition and fees that are among the lowest on average since 1996.
The action, taken during the TBR quarterly meeting at Columbia State Community College, raises hourly maintenance fees/tuition an average of 3.3 percent across the six TBR universities, 13 community colleges and 27 Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology.
Last fall the Tennessee Higher Education Commission recommended tuition increases between 0 and 4 percent if dollars were provided in the state budget this year for the higher education funding formula that allocates funds based on a variety of metrics to encourage student success through outcomes, like graduation and retention. The outcomes in the formula were funded.
As a result, students at Austin Peay State University will see a 2.4 percent maintenance fee/tuition increase, East Tennessee State University – 3 percent, Middle Tennessee State University – 3.1 percent, Tennessee State University – 2.8 percent, Tennessee Tech University – 10.9 percent (TTU is also reducing its mandatory fees this year, so the result is actually a 3.9 percent total revenue increase), and University of Memphis – 3.7 percent.
Students at community colleges will pay 3.4 percent more for maintenance fees, and TCAT students will see a 4 percent increase.
In addition to maintenance fees/tuition, which are charged by the credit hour, all students pay a set of mandatory fees that are unique to each campus, like athletics fees, student activities fees, health services fees, etc. Mandatory fees were approved in March, but one additional change at ETSU was approved today as well. ETSU will add a $290 student-approved mandatory fee to fund renovations to its Culp University Center.
When the increased maintenance fees/tuition are combined with the previously approved mandatory fees, the total proposed price increases for in-state students taking a full-time course load of 12 credit hours would amount to the following per year:
Statement from TBR Chancellor John Morgan:
“We are pleased that the tuition levels are the lowest they have been in decades, but we do understand that every time fees are raised, someone may be priced out of an opportunity to attend one of our institutions.
“Tennessee is fortunate to have state leaders who recognize the integral connection between an educated workforce with affordable access to post-secondary education and the economic growth of our state. Our Hope lottery scholarship, the Tennessee Promise last-dollar scholarship and the Tennessee Reconnect grant, along with other state and federal aid programs, make higher education a more realistic option for more people today than ever before, but for those who must cover the full cost of attendance, any increase is unfortunate.
“Our institutions are more efficient now than ever, and they continue to focus their resources on ways that support student success to help more complete their credentials faster and more effectively.
“We hope that in the coming years our state leaders will continue to find a way to make higher education a funding priority.”
How fees are calculated:
Maintenance fees (often referred to as “tuition”) are the charges based on credit hours for in-state students. For example, a student pays a flat rate for the first 12 hours of class credits and a discounted rate for any additional hours. Only out-of-state students are required to pay tuition in addition to maintenance fees. Mandatory fees vary by institution, fund specified programs, and are paid by all students regardless of the number of hours they take.
A list of increases for 2015-16 and historical tuition data is available at https://www.tbr.edu/business/fees.
Other actions at today’s meeting:
In other business, the Board approved committee actions authorizing new degree programs at ETSU, Northeast State Community College and the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology. ETSU will add a bachelor of science degree in pharmacy studies, a doctor of education degree in global sport leadership, and several post-doctoral level certificates to address the changing field of nursing. Northeast State Community College will offer a new associate of applied science degree in entertainment technology. And the TCATs will offer 15 new programs at locations across the state.
The Board heard a report on efforts the TBR System and its institutions are making to increase engagement with business and industry. Highlighted were the Nashville-area skills panels created to provide a consistent and structured platform for regional industry and education leaders to plan alignments, the TCAT response to the state’s Labor and Education Alignment Program grants, the Chattanooga State Community College hospitality and tourism industry management program, and the MTSU concrete industry management program.
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.