Tennessee regents approve no-tuition-increase budgets for community, technical colleges

NASHVILLE -Tennessee students attending state community colleges and Tennessee colleges of applied technology will see no tuition increases for the second time in three years.

The Tennessee Board of Regents last week approved keeping rates stable for the fiscal year 2022-23 budget that takes effect July 1.

The board also suspended campus-specific online course fees for a second straight year, a move expected to save students at seven campuses, including Chattanooga State and Cleveland State, some $2.6 million.

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The board's move follows prior action taken in May by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, which voted to maintain current tuition rates for the Board of Regents, University of Tennessee campuses and the state's six independent universities. UT's board of trustees previously approved its no-tuition increase.

The Board of Regents can't raise tuition independently of the Higher Education Commission. However, the move to suspend campus-specific online course fees was that of the regents alone and was something they have the power to do.

Those actions came after Gov. Bill Lee and state lawmakers provided millions more in the new budget for operations.

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"We're grateful to Gov. Lee and members of the Tennessee General Assembly for supporting Tennessee students and their families with a historic increase in state funding for higher education," Board of Regents Chancellor Flora Tydings said in a news release.

She said the board's ability to keep tuition and fees unchanged for another year is a "direct result" of state government's actions as well as continued federal pandemic-related assistance and the "hard work" by colleges to hold down costs.

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Regents two years ago approved an annual spending plan with no increases in tuition and fees for the 2020-21 academic year in reaction to the pandemic. Last year, the board approved its smallest tuition increase in three decades but didn't raise other mandatory fees.

- Compiled by Andy Sher