Tennessee set to hike public universities' tuition

Tennessee set to hike public universities' tuition

November 15th, 2012 by Andy Sher in Local Regional News

Students make their way across UTC's campus in this file photo.

Photo by Harrison Keely/Times Free Press.

2012 TUITION HIKES

The increases for the entire UT system for 2012

* UT Chattanooga - 6 percent increase or $324 a year more for in-state undergraduates ($5,722 a year total) and $388 a year more for in-state graduate students ($6,860 a year total)

* UT Knoxville - 8 percent increase or $578 a year more for in-state undergraduates ($7,802 a year total) and $668 a year more for in-state graduate students ($9,000 a year total)

* UT Martin - 6 percent increase or $338 a year more for in-state undergraduates ($5,978 a year total) and $405 a year more for in-state graduate students ($7,130 a year total)

* UT Health Science Center - 4 percent for in-state and out-of-state tuition for all colleges

* UT Veterinary Medicine - 10 percent increase or $1,941 a year more for in-state students and $4,326 a year more for out-of-state students.

The Tennessee Board of Regents recommended a tuition increase of as much as 7.2 percent for one of its universities.

NASHVILLE - Students at UTC and other Tennessee public universities are looking at tuition increases of up to 6 percent next fall.

Those attending community colleges such as Chattanooga State and technology centers can expect boosts of up to 3 percent.

That's the message higher education officials gave Gov. Bill Haslam during budget hearings in Nashville on Tuesday.

The increases are based on the assumption that Haslam and state lawmakers will approve increased taxpayer support of $33.5 million for operational costs. Tuition could rise even higher if taxpayer support isn't increased or is less than that, higher education officials said.

Tennessee Higher Education Commission Executive Director Richard Rhoda told Haslam that the University of Tennessee and Tennessee Board of Regents systems are trying to keep the increases down.

"You have said the days of double-digit tuition increases need to be behind [us] and we certainly concur," Rhoda said.

Haslam told the officials that, while he hopes to do more for higher education, he must contend with the federal Affordable Care Act, which he noted will remain intact given President Barack Obama's re-election. Implementing the so-called Obamacare will have a financial impact on state government, he said.

"Our health care costs will go up as a state and as y'all know, unfortunately, historically that's been bad news for higher education," the governor noted.

Under a 6 percent scenario, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga tuition and fees for a full-time student would rise to $7,555 during the two-semester academic year. Community college students would see tuition rise to $3,788 under a 3 percent scenario.

Rhoda and other officials will present the recommended increases today to the THEC board.

Haslam is in the midst of preparing his proposed 2013-2014 budget, which he will submit to lawmakers early next year.