The Tennessee Board of Regents approved student tuition rates for the 2018-19 academic year Friday – a 2.7 percent increase at community colleges and 3 percent at colleges of applied technology, the fourth consecutive year of increases under 4 percent and the lowest four-year average increase in decades.
Because there is no across-the-board increase in mandatory fees (fees paid by all students in addition to tuition), the effective increase in tuition and fees combined is 2.4 to 2.6 percent for community college students taking 15 credit hours per semester and 2.8 percent for technical college students.
The tuition increase is the second lowest in 27 years; last year’s 2.6 percent increase at both the community and technical colleges was the lowest since 1991-92.
Community college tuition is charged on a credit-hour basis.
The new rate will be $164 per credit hour up to 12 hours, a $4 increase, and $34 per credit-hour above 12, a $2 increase. Community college students taking 15 credit hours will pay $2,070 in tuition, or $54 more per semester. Because mandatory fees slightly vary by institution, their combined tuition and mandatory fees will range from $2,198 to $2,240.
Students at the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology, who take programs on a trimester basis, will see a $35 per trimester increase in their tuition, to $1,204. Their combined tuition and mandatory fees for an academic year of three trimesters will increase by $105, to $3,842.
The only increase in mandatory fees approved at any of the TBR colleges was a small $3 per semester increase at Columbia State Community College that was requested by the student government association and approved in a student referendum to enhance student events on the college’s five campuses.
The Board of Regents, which governs the 13 community colleges and 27 Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology (TCATs) comprising the College System of Tennessee, held its quarterly meeting Thursday and Friday at Cleveland State Community College. The meeting opened with presentations by Cleveland State President Bill Seymour and TCAT Athens President Stewart Smith about their colleges’ work on behalf of students in the region.
The Board also approved the College System’s capital outlay request for next year’s state budget cycle, the first step in the capital budgeting process. The request includes nine campus construction and renovation projects totaling $175.5 million and $42.8 million to address 60 capital maintenance priorities at the 13 community colleges and 18 colleges of applied technology.
The request will be forwarded to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, which will draft a priority list for capital projects across the state’s public higher education system, including the TBR system, the University of Tennessee System and locally governed institutions for submission to the state administration.
The nine construction and renovation projects requested:
Columbia State Community College – New Technology Building for its Williamson Campus in Franklin. $18.8 million
Roane State Community College – Replacement building for its Knox County health sciences campus. $24.3 million.
TCAT Athens and Cleveland State Community College – McMinn County Higher Education and Training Facility. $17.75 million.
Motlow State Community College – New classroom building at its Rutherford County campus in Smyrna. $23.5 million
TCAT Chattanooga – New technical education building. $17.4 million.
Volunteer State Community College – New Wilson County campus building. $12.5 million.
South Central Regional Center – New Center for Health Sciences and Industrial Technologies, a collaborative project of Columbia State Community College and TCATs Hohenwald and Pulaski. $42.82 million
Jackson State Community College – Library renovations. $4.5 million
Nashville State Community College – Expansion of its Clarksville campus. $13.91 million.
The tuition increases and state appropriations will help fund a proposed budget for the 2018-19 academic year totaling $1.086 billion for the College System, which was also approved Friday. The proposed budget does not recognize factors such as increases in enrollment and grants and other adjustments that will occur after the semester begins. The revised budget presented to the Board in December will recognize those adjustments.
In other action, the Board:
Received an update on Tennessee Reconnect, which allows adults without college degrees to attend community and technical college tuition-free starting with the upcoming fall semester. Just over 21,000 Tennesseans have filed applications for the program and 17,000 have been verified as eligible thus far.
Awarded Denso Manufacturing of Athens the Regents Award for Excellence in Philanthropy. Denso was nominated by Cleveland State and TCAT Athens for the company’s support of both colleges’ student success and workforce development mission. Denso has contributed financially and its expertise to an array of programs on behalf of students.
Received a report on the findings of an Economic Reach and Impact study of TBR institutions, employees, students and graduates. The study was conducted by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s Center for Economic Research in Tennessee.
Approved a revision in TBR policy regarding payment of student fees and enrollment. The proposal stems from the state legislature’s approval of Public Chapter 739, the intent of which is to give students with prior college debt a pathway to return to school, participate in Tennessee Reconnect and ultimately graduate. The policy change would authorize College System of Tennessee schools to issue certificates of credit or official transcripts for a student seeking admission to any college in the system if the student has entered into a written agreement to satisfy any outstanding debt or obligation owed to the college issuing the certificate or transcript. Additionally, the schools are authorized to issue diplomas, certificates of credit, or official transcripts if the debt outstanding is less than $100.
Approved 15 program implementations, modifications or terminations of technical programs at the TCATs.
Approved tenure for 60 faculty members and promotions for 219 faculty members, based on recommendations from their colleges.
Approved annual president emeritus contracts for seven retired college presidents who agree to perform specific work for their institutions.
Approved a change in the Board’s bylaws to add a self-assessment process for the board to comply with accreditation standards of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Re-elected Regent Emily J. Reynolds as vice chair of the Board.
Approved resolutions of appreciation for Regents Larry Autry, Fran Marcum and Jeremy Mitchell, who are leaving the Board July 1.