NASHVILLE — Students attending Tennessee community and technical colleges will see their first tuition and fee increases in two years this fall after approval by the Tennessee Board of Regents last week.

The Board of Regents operates the state's 27 Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology, including the Chattanooga and Athens colleges.

Approved TCAT increases amount to $24 per trimester. None of the TCATs have increases in other mandatory fees.

For the 13 community colleges, which include Chattanooga State and Cleveland State, the increase per semester amounts to $42 for students who are taking full course loads.

Two community colleges — Nashville State and Pellissippi State — sought and were approved for mandatory fee increases of $3 per semester. Regents' action came after student referendums favoring the increases.

The combined tuition and mandatory fees at TCATs for a full academic year, three trimesters, would total $4,008, which represents a 1.83% increase over the 2019 academic year.

For students attending community colleges, a full academic year of two semesters with 15 credit hours per semester would result in tuition and mandatory fees rising between 1.83% to 2%. The two semesters would collectively rise in cost $4,594 to $4,678 with an average 1.87% increase.

Regents also voted to suspend fees for campus-specific online courses for the next academic year at seven community colleges, among them Chattanooga State and Cleveland State.

The system intends to review the fees that vary from campus to campus. Regents see this as a "financial barrier" to students taking the college-specific online courses for which enrollment rose during the coronavirus pandemic.

The now-suspended fees range from $10 per credit hour up to 25% of tuition. Collective cost savings for students attending the seven community colleges and taking their online courses total $2.64 million. No campus-by-campus breakdowns were immediately available. The suspension does not apply to online courses offered through the systemwide TN eCampus.

According to the regents, the increases approved Friday were the smallest hike at the community colleges in more than three decades and the lowest for TCATs in eight years.

Officials noted in a news release that a number of students are able to attend both community colleges and TCATs free of tuition and mandatory fees by participating in the Tennessee Promise for new high school graduates and Tennessee Reconnect for adults with no college degree or credential. Students are often eligible for other federal and state aid.

On Friday at their meeting, University of Tennessee board members are expected to consider tuition and fee increases requested by the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and UT-Martin.

Contact Andy Sher at or 615-255-0550. Follow on Twitter @AndySher1.