Tuition Increases of About 9 Percent Likely at Regents, UT Campuses

(Note: Expands and replaces original post.)
MURFREESBORO – Students at Tennessee Board of Regents institutions will likely see tuition increases of around 9 percent in the academic year beginning this August, Regents Chancellor John Morgan said Wednesday.
A University of Tennessee spokesman said UT students will likely face similar increases, though no announcement has been made.
Morgan told reporters that the Regents staff has been reviewing a proposed budget for the coming year and will present recommendations to the Board of Regents Finance Committee on Monday.
“I think what we’re going to see is a recommendation from staff that will be somewhere between 8½ to 9½ percent, with some opportunity for discussion of individual institutions that may need more,” Morgan said.
University of Tennessee trustees are expected to set tuition rates for the UT system at a June 23 meeting.
“It’s fair to say we will be in the same ballpark,” said Hank Dye, UT vice president for governmental and public relations, adding there likely will be some differences among UT campuses – with UT-Knoxville at the higher end
The Tennessee Higher Education Commission last fall projected tuition increases for the Regents and UT in the 7 percent range for the next academic year. That projection was made prior to presentation of Gov. Bill Haslam’s state budget proposal for the coming fiscal year.
The budget cut about 2 percent of higher education’s budget and Morgan said the reduction figured into the need for a higher tuition increase.
Morgan’s comments came at a ceremony at Middle Tennessee State University’s new College of Education building for Gov. Bill Haslam’s signing of a bill that allows students to receive lottery-funded scholarships for summer classes starting next year. The new law also prohibits students from receiving HOPE lottery scholarship funding for more than 120 credit hours, unless they are in an undergraduate program that requires more than 120 hours for a degree.
The Board of Regents is expected to vote on a tuition increase June 23.
Students on Tennessee’s public campuses have faced annual tuition increases for years as state appropriations for higher education has declined. The Regents tuition increased 6.3 percent for most students last year for most students at universities and about 8.2 percent for those at community colleges. In 2009, the average Regents increase was 5.5 percent.
Haslam said he had not heard figures on tuition increases but was sympathetic to students who are financially hard-pressed in covering college costs. He met with several students drawing HOPE scholarships Wednesday, the governor said, and found all of them were taking out loans and working part-time to for expenses not covered by scholarship money.

(Note: Richard Locker of the Commercial Appeal contributed substantially to this post.)

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