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No tuition or fee increase for students at Tennessee's community & technical colleges for 2020-2021

TN Board of Regents voted Friday to keep tuition and fees stable – with zero increase – for students at Tennessee's community & technical colleges.
College Tuition

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Students attending Tennessee’s public community colleges and colleges of applied technology will see no tuition or fee increase during the upcoming academic year as a result of action today by the Tennessee Board of Regents.

The Board unanimously approved recommendations of TBR staff and the Board’s Finance and Business Operations Committee for no tuition or student fee increase – for both in-state and out-of-state students – in recognition of the economic conditions prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic and Governor Bill Lee and the General Assembly maintaining state appropriations for higher education operating funding at current levels. It is the first year without a tuition increase at Tennessee’s 13 community colleges since 1991 and the first at the 27 Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology since 2013.

“We recognize the economic hardships that many students and their families may be experiencing during this economic downturn and we want to do our part to keep higher education affordable at a time when Tennesseans need us the most,” said Board of Regents Vice Chair Emily J. Reynolds.

“In doing so, we are also recognizing the state Administration’s and the General Assembly’s strong commitment to higher education,” said Chancellor Flora W. Tydings. “Their commitments to funding higher education have helped to put us in a position where we can do this for our students and their families in their time of greatest need.”

Tennessee’s community and technical colleges remain the most affordable higher education option for Tennesseans. Today’s action to maintain tuition and fees at 2019-20 levels follows three consecutive years of combined tuition and fee increases of less than 3 percent. For an academic year (two semesters at community colleges, three trimesters at TCATs), tuition and mandatory fees for Tennessee residents attending full time range from $4,504 to $4,588 at the community colleges and $3,937 at the TCATs.

Many students attend free of tuition and mandatory fees through the Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect programs and other state and federal financial assistance.

In other action during today’s quarterly meeting, the Board of Regents:

  • Approved capital outlay requests for Fiscal Year 2021-22 – a $28.6 million Arts and Technology Classroom Building at Columbia State Community College’s Williamson Campus in Franklin, a $19 million Laboratory and Classroom Building at Nashville State Community College’s Clarksville Campus, and $44.2 million for 50 major maintenance projects across the system. The requests now go to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission for consideration, along with projects from state universities, for THEC’s overall capital budget recommendation to the state for the FY 2021-22 budget cycle.
  • Approved 21 new, expanded or relocated training programs at seven different Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology.
  • Approved faculty tenure and promotion recommendations and college president emeritus contracts.
  • Approved preliminary systemwide budgets for the colleges totaling $1.18 billion for Fiscal Year 2020-21, down from $1.22 billion for FY 2019-20. Regent Greg Duckett, chair of the Board's Finance and Business Operations Committee, said the budgets are based on the level of state funds recommended in the Governor's budget proposal and approved by the General Assembly, as well as early estimates of factors such as enrollment and availability of federal funds.
  • Approved resolutions of appreciation recognizing the service on the Board of Faculty Regent Robert Pepper of TCAT Whiteville and Student Regent Emily Dollar of Walters State Community College, whose terms end this month.
  • Approved the naming of a new classroom building at Motlow State Community College's Rutherford County Campus in Smyrna the Hiatt-Spivey Center in honor of the Hiatt family and the late Smyrna Mayor Bob Spivey for the many contributions they have made to the campus's success. Mayor Spivey was instrumental in helping establish the college in Smyrna through a land donation from the Town of Smyrna and contributions by the Hiatt family helped fund construction of the building.
  • Re-elected Regent Reynolds, who has served on the Board of Regents since 2010, as the Board’s vice chair for another year.

The Board also was given an update that funding for the proposed $21.7 Advanced Manufacturing Building at TCAT Chattanooga was included in the Fiscal Year 2020-21 state budget approved by the General Assembly early today. Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance Danny Gibbs said TBR Facilities Development staff "look forward to working with TCAT Chattanooga to get this project started."

Full details, the agenda, Board background materials and an archived video of the Board meeting are posted on the TBR website.