The Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) voted to increase tuition and fee rates today for the six universities, 13 community colleges and 27 technology centers it governs. The rates of increase are lower this year than in previous years.
TBR does not oversee the University of Tennessee, but they do oversee all other community colleges such as Chattanooga State, Cleveland State, etc.
The new mandatory and maintenance fee/tuition rates will result in price increases ranging from 3.4 percent at Austin Peay State University to 7.2 percent at East Tennessee State University. Students at the University of Memphis will see a 7 percent increase in price and at Southwest Tennessee Community College will pay 4.8 percent more. Tennessee Technology Center students across the state will see a 6.2 percent price increase per trimester. CLICK HERE
to see a complete list of tuition and fee rate increases at each TBR institution (Word Document)
“It is never easy to ask a student to pay more year after year,” said TBR Chancellor John Morgan. “Today’s actions reflect an unfortunate but expected continued shift of funding responsibility from the state to our students.
“At the same time we see state support in base funding continuing to erode, most of our enrollments continue to climb, and the money needed to operate continues to rise. Our campuses will use much of the revenue generated from these increases to offset funding shortfalls, but they are also committed to placing increased attention on helping students stay in school and earn credentials more efficiently,” Morgan added.
Calculating the total price students pay
Students at each campus pay mandatory fees to support student activities, athletics, cultural opportunities, and other unique projects and programs. Those fees vary from institution to institution and are paid by all students regardless of the number of hours they take. Maintenance fees 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. Most academic programs require students to complete at least 15 hours a semester to finish on time. Out-of-state students are required to pay tuition in addition to maintenance fees. The combined cost of these fees or tuition result in the total price a student must pay.
Last year was the first year universities other than the University of Memphis could request differential maintenance fee/tuition rates based on the unique needs and programs at each campus. This year several campuses required additional funds to provide student support programs to increase learning outcomes and student retention.
For example, UofM and MTSU will use much of their funds to convert temporary faculty positions to permanent posts to support increased student advising and counseling. ETSU will establish a salary pool to help attract and retain effective faculty and will fund graduate assistantships for students.
“The price increases will not cover all of our funding needs. On a per student basis, the amount of money our institutions have available to spend is lower than in 2009,” Morgan said. “Even with the base proposed fee increases, the change in recurring revenue available at our institutions (adjusted for inflation) will be an average of 9.7 percent lower at our community colleges than in 2009, 5.1 percent lower on average at our universities, and 6.7 percent lower at the technology centers. So it’s important to note that while the price is increasing, the cost – the amount we spend per student – remains lower than it was three years ago.”
Over the past several years, state funding for higher education has declined by about 30 percent, including a more than 2 percent base budget reduction this year. Despite that, campuses are facing additional inflationary costs, including increased utilities, benefits, supplies, etc. that require funding to operate.
The proposed fee/tuition increases will cover that reduced state funding, only 80 percent of inflationary increases (utilities, etc.), the portion of the 2.5 percent salary increase for state employees that was not funded in the state budget, student success programs proposed by the campus, and a business intelligence program to help the system and institutions become more data driven.
Other business of the Board
In other business, the Board re-elected Governor Haslam as its chairman and Regent Greg Duckett as vice chairman for the 2012-13 term.
System and campus-level compensation plans were approved, and the Board voted to enhance the 2.5 percent across-the-board pay increase for state employees by providing the lowest paid workers in the system with a minimum $750 (or 2.5 percent, whichever is greater).
The Tennessee Board of Regents is the nation’s sixth largest higher education system, governing 46 post-secondary educational institutions. The TBR system includes six universities, 13 two-year colleges and 27 technology centers, providing programs in 90 of Tennessee’s 95 counties to more than 200,000 students.