TBR Finance Committee recommends tuition rates for...

TBR Finance Committee recommends tuition rates for 2013-14

The Tennessee Board of Regents Committee on Finance and Business Operations has recommended increases in tuition/maintenance fees that are lower than recent years thanks to improved state funding.

The committee decided today to recommend 3 percent increases for each of the 13 community colleges across the state and increases ranging from 1.4 to 6 percent for the six TBR universities.

Students at the Tennessee Technology Centers will not see a maintenance fee increase.

Students pass between landmarks on the east side of the MTSU campus, including the Business and Aerospace Building, the College of Education Building, the new Student Union, the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building and the John Bragg Mass Communication Building. In the distance construction continues on the new Student Services Building and parking garage next to the Student Health, Wellness and Recreation Center. (MTSU file photo by Andy Heidt)

MTSU is the largest of the six universities governed by the board. A report released earlier this year showed MTSU as the top and most efficient producer of graduates among TBR universities in 2011-12.

If approved by the full board, rates at MTSU will rise by 5.7 percent.

Students at Tennessee State University will see a 1.4 percent maintenance fee/tuition increase. Austin Peay State University will see a 3 percent increase and East Tennessee State University 4.6 percent.

Students at both Tennessee Tech University and the University of Memphis will pay 6 percent more if the recommendation is approved.

When combined with mandatory fees, which are unique to each campus and include already-approved fees for athletics, student activities and the like, the proposed price increases would amount to about $102 per year for community college students taking 15 credit hours and range from $72 per year at TSU to $546 at ETSU.

The finance committee will forward the proposed rates to the full Board of Regents, which will vote on the recommendations at its quarterly meeting on Friday, June 21. The rate recommendations are within the maintenance fee guidance adopted last fall by the Tennessee Higher Education Committee.

The suggested rates are lower than in recent years thanks to state budget allocations that provided more general operating dollars for higher education for the first time in more than a decade.

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. 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.

The increased maintenance fees/tuition are needed to pay for the portion of the mandated 1.5 percent salary increase for all state employees that was not funded through state appropriations and inflation-cost increases in utilities and insurance.

Most institutions also requested more funds to increase student success.

MTSU, for example, will increase tenured and tenure-track faculty to ensure academic program quality. APSU plans to support a program called Inside Track, which uses data-informed academic coaching to impact student persistence.

And TTU will introduce a Freshman Flight Path Program to increase the retention of first-year students. Community colleges will implement student retention efforts and a statewide marketing plan to promote the value of Tennessee’s community colleges.

In previous years, state funding for higher education declined by about 30 percent, including a base operating budget reduction of more than 2 percent last year.

The Tennessee Board of Regents system provides programs across the state to more than 200,000 students in its 46 post-secondary educational institutions.