Middle Tennessee State University’s administration will not seek tuition or fee increases for the 2020-21 academic year when the institution’s budget goes to its Board of Trustees for consideration in June, President Sidney A. McPhee said Friday, May 1.
“We must do what we can to help our students and their families as we come to terms with the economic impact caused by the COVID-19 crisis,” McPhee said. “It is vital that we identify and remove as many obstacles as we can, so that we can welcome our new and returning students to campus this fall.”
Trustees Chairman Stephen B. Smith said the board will consider MTSU’s budget plan at the board’s next quarterly meeting on June 16. The chairman said he supported and encouraged McPhee’s recommendation to keep tuition and fees flat.
“We have yet to measure fully the economic impact of this global pandemic, so this will be welcome news to many in our community,” Smith said. “I anticipate the board will seriously consider President McPhee’s recommendation.
“As stewards of this great university, my fellow trustees and I fully support the tremendous efforts by the president and his team in keeping MTSU focused on the future during this crisis,” Smith said.
MTSU’s tuition and fees remain the lowest among the state’s three largest public universities, including the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and the University of Memphis, said Trustee Joey Jacobs, chair of the board’s Finance and Personnel Committee.
“This recommendation follows suit with MTSU’s tradition of prudent and careful management of its finances and budget,” Jacobs said.
COVID-19 concerns prompted MTSU and the state’s other higher education institutions to make rapid changes to protect the health and safety of students, faculty and staff.
MTSU moved to remote instruction in mid-March and will continue doing so for summer, while cancelling most on-campus events and activities, including Spring Commencement.
On Thursday, McPhee announced that MTSU will move forward with its COVID-19 preparations for the Fall 2020 semester with a goal of resuming on-campus, in-person classes and operations in August.
And, in late March, MTSU unveiled three new guaranteed academic scholarships for qualified freshmen entering this fall who have not yet applied to the university.
McPhee said the awards were designed for “prospective freshmen in our region who are now considering higher education options that are closer to home due to the ongoing uncertainly caused by the COVID-19 crisis.”
The university will accept applications for the three awards — the Lightning Scholarship, the Blue Raider Scholarship and the Future Alumni Scholarship — through Aug. 14, 10 days before the start of the Fall 2020 semester. These awards are not available to new freshmen who have already received either the Trustee, Presidential, True Blue or other guaranteed academic scholarship. Additional eligibility details include:
- Lightning Scholarship: Students with a 3.5 high school GPA and ACT scores between 30 and 36 can receive $3,000 a year for four years.
- Blue Raider Scholarship: Students with a 3.5 high school GPA and ACT scores between 25 and 29 can receive $2,000 a year for four years.
- Future Alumni: Students with a 3.5 high school GPA and ACT scores between 23 and 24 can receive $1,000 a year for four years.
MTSU already awarded its larger array of guaranteed academic scholarships, which are larger than the new awards, to qualified incoming freshmen who applied by the Dec. 1 deadline.
— Andrew Oppmann (Andrew.Oppmann@mtsu.edu)