The Tennessee Board of Regents met late last week and approved a 9.7 percent tuition increase for TTU and other four-year TBR universities except the University of Memphis, where tuition will jump 12.5 percent. Community college students will pay 9.7 percent more, while those attending the state's technology centers can expect to pay 15 percent more.
The University of Tennessee system's board will meet June 23 to discuss tuition increases at the various UT campuses. The Tennessee Higher Education Commission has recommended an increase of 12-15 percent there.
The 9.7 percent rise at TTU will amount to about $163 more per semester for a full-time undergraduate student and $218 for a graduate student. The money provided by that tuition increase translates to roughly $1.9 million, enough to cover inflationary annual operating costs and the university's portion of a state-mandated 3 percent salary hike for all state employees.
Students at all TBR universities will also see increases in their "general access" fees. For TTU students, that amounts to a $50 per semester increase for undergraduates and $30 for graduate students to help fund a Student Success program, rising Athletics costs and intramurals.
The fee hike includes an undergraduate fee of $20 for Student Success programs to increase student retention and graduation rates. Examples of activities to be supported by the fee include an orientation course for first-time freshmen, advising programs, tutoring services, mentor programs, learning communities, and more.
The program focus will be to ensure student involvement, provide academic and social support, and enhance student feedback. Campus officials expect that students will be more likely to remain in school and graduate on time as a result. The TTU Student Government Association endorsed the fee proposal.
"A growing body of research suggests that if we have high expectations of our students, provide feedback, promote involvement, develop relevant courses and provide appropriate support, their retention and graduation rates are more likely to rise dramatically," said Marvin Barker, TTU provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.
"If you look at any group of similar institutions, you'll find those that place a high value on these types of factors have extraordinary success in keeping and graduating their students. With our Student Success program, we plan to make these factors part of the fabric of our students' lives on the Tennessee Tech campus."
The Athletics fee will increase $25 for all students to help the Athletics department maintain NCAA certification as well as provide funding for gender equity and travel costs. Four other TBR schools increased student Athletic fees at the same time, including Austin Peay, East Tennessee State and Tennessee State, where the fees also jumped $25, and Middle Tennessee State, where the fee rose $20.
An increase of $5 each semester in the intramural fee for all students will help fund and improve the intramural sports programs for all students. The increase brings the total fee for intramurals at TTU to $10 each semester.
In other action at the TBR meeting last week, the board approved a request for TTU, APSU, University of Memphis and Motlow State Community College to charge in-state tuition rates for out-of-state students in certain border counties in other states.
TTU's in-state tuition waiver will be available to students in a specific region of Kentucky. Students in six underserved Kentucky counties bordering the Upper Cumberland region of Tennessee will qualify for the tuition waiver.
"It's beneficial to Tennessee Tech to extend in-state tuition rates to select areas," Barker said. "This program will help increase the educational and economic development in that region, and the effect will spill over into the adjacent Tennessee counties. It will also give us a broader alumni base from which to draw support in the future."