The University of Memphis and Southwest Tennessee Community College will receive less money from the state in the upcoming school yard than in the current year because of the Complete College Act passed by the Legislature in 2010, reports the Commercial Appeal. The Memphis schools are the only two among the Tennessee Board of Regents’ six universities and 13 community colleges that the new formula would have cut for the 2013-14 school year if the extra money wasn’t available, according to TBR figures.
The new outcomes-based formula takes into account the colleges’ and universities’ success in such factors as retaining students, advancing them steadily toward degrees and awarding degrees and other credentials. As a result, the schools are placing new emphasis on student success, including tutoring and advising centers.
U of M and Regents officials emphasize that the University of Memphis had positive outcomes under the formula and that the indicated reduction is due to other factors.
U of M faces a $737,300 reduction in its recurring funding from state appropriations for 2013-14 — but a one-time, or nonrecurring, appropriation of $1,976,600 will more than offset that reduction — for one year only.
Southwest Tennessee Community College is losing $2.2 million in recurring state funding and is getting about $1.2 million in nonrecurring funding, for a net reduction from the state of about $1 million. The Board of Regents is expected to approve tuition increases of 3 percent for the community colleges and 6 percent at the U of M later this month, to round out the institutions’ operational funding.
In contrast, the other five Regents universities will receive increased recurring funding from the state ranging from $893,100 at Tennessee State University in Nashville to $3.7 million at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville. And the 12 other community colleges will receive increases ranging from $463,100 at Volunteer State in Gallatin to $4.7 million at Chattanooga State.
TBR figures indicate that when the so-called “hold harmless” money — it holds the campuses “harmless” from funding cuts — ends after the upcoming school year, institutions on the lower end of the outcomes model could face state funding cuts unless the governor and legislature provide real increases in higher education operational funding across the board. They did that this year, for the first time in nearly a decade.
David G. Zettergren, vice president for business and finance at the U of M, said the university is taking several steps to control costs to compensate for state appropriation reductions while continuing to serve students. They include “streamlining, consolidating and reorganizing offices and services,” he said.
Memphis lawyer John Farris, a Board of Regents member and chairman of its Finance and Business Operations Committee, said he’s disappointed with the impact of base funding cuts on the Memphis schools.
The Tennessee Board of Regents is considering tuition increases ranging from 1.2 to 7.8 percent for students at Regents-governed colleges and universities this fall, reports The Commercial Appeal. Those rates were presented by TBR staff as the starting point for discussion by the Board’s Finance and Business Operations Committee last week. The staff will develop its formal recommendations for presentation to the committee on Tuesday. The full Board of Regents meets June 21 to approve tuition and fee increases — usually at the rate the committee recommends.
But if those rates are ultimately approved, it would mean a $419 increase per academic year for a University of Memphis student taking 15 hours and $136 per year for a student at Southwest. U of M students taking 15 hours currently pay $8,234 in tuition and mandatory fees for two semesters and would pay $8,653, excluding residence halls and meal plans. Annual tuition and mandatory fees for a Southwest student taking 15 hours are $3,717 and would rise to $3,853. (Note: The U of M increase would be 5.1 percent.)
The U of M has the highest tuition and mandatory fees (fees that all full-time students must pay) of any of the six Regents-governed universities. The second highest is Middle Tennessee State University at $7,492 per academic year.
However, those rates are lower than the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where tuition and mandatory fees totaled $9,092 during the 2012-13 academic year. The UT Board of Trustees meets June 19-20 to set tuition and fees for its campuses.
;;;The committee discussed tuition and fee increases at the other five universities: Austin Peay State University, 3.3 percent; East Tennessee State, 7.8 percent; MTSU, 4.8 percent, Tennessee State, 1.2 percent and Tennessee Technological University, 5.6 percent.
Increases discussed at the 13 community colleges were 3.7 to 3.8 percent.
The committee also discussed, but did not act on, a possible tuition increase of 0.8 percent for community college students to pay for a $2 million comprehensive marketing initiative for the two-year schools.
A proposed “Higher Education Equality Act,” intended to end affirmative action programs in the University of Tennessee and Board of Regents systems, was rewritten Wednesday to assure efforts involving federal funding and accreditation are not impacted.
But spokesmen for UT and the Regents said they still have concern with the measure (SB8), sponsored by Sen. Jim Summerville, R-Dickson, and the amendment offered by Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville.
Anthony Haynes, a UT vice president, and David Gregory, a Regents vice chancellor, said the revised version basically tracks existing federal law, but there are differences that could cause problems and lead to litigation in courts.
“It’s like a lawyer’s dream come true,” Haynes told the Senate Education Committee.
Gregory cited language in the bill banning “preferential treatment,” a phrase of “vagueness” in the legal sense that is subject to various interpretation. Federal law also prohibits discrimination based on race or gender when that discrimination is “solely” the cause of an action. The word “solely” is lacking in the proposed state law.
Haynes envision a young man rejected for general admission to UT-Knoxville bringing a lawsuit because UT, in trying to form “a women’s golf team,” granted admission to a woman with a lower ACT score.
After Haynes and Gregory spoke, Campfield and Summerville agreed to put off a committee vote for another week and hold further discussions to see if differences can be resolved.
Committee Chairman Dolores Gresham went along with the postponement, but added that she wanted to “admonish” those involved, then declared: “Don’t come back here unless you are ready to vote on this bill!”
Gov. Bill Haslam says that changing the direction of higher education is “more than a battleship,” but that he eventually expects to change its governing structure, according to Hank Hayes report on a meeting with members of the Kingsport Times-News Editorial Board.
An excerpt: “It’s such an insular world. It’s the most insular world I’ve ever seen,” Haslam, a Republican, said of higher education.
After a top-to-bottom review last year, Haslam didn’t push for change in the state’s higher education governing structure.
That governing structure features two big boards — the Tennessee Board of Regents and the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees — in addition to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, the state’s coordinating agency for higher education.
Haslam admitted he hasn’t figured out what to do with the governing structure.
“There’s as many answers as there are states as to how it should be set up,” he said. “At the end of the day, I don’t think governance structure is our primary issue … (but) I think we address governance structure before we leave here. At the end of the day, it matters.”
In the meantime, Haslam said his administration is “hacking away” at other pieces of higher education in an attempt to entice Tennesseans to get more college diplomas.
His budget proposal calls for a partnership with Western Governors University to offer online courses with a goal of increasing the percentage of Tennesseans with a post-secondary credential from 32 percent to 55 percent by 2025.
Haslam has proposed starting a $35 million endowment to provide scholarships to students from low-income families through the Tennessee Student Assistance Corp.
He has also appointed Knoxville businessman Randy Boyd to be the head of an ongoing higher education review effort.
One part of that effort, said Haslam, is expanding college affordability.
“I would love for a middle-income family to send a kid to a two-year program for free,” Haslam said. “We don’t think we’re all that far from coming up with a formula for making that happen.”
State government, Haslam pointed out, is now funding higher education based on college completion instead of enrollment. It’s all part of a work force development strategy.
“We need more engineer majors. We need more welders. We need more computer science majors. You will see us investing in those buildings and places that increase capacity,” Haslam said.
But Haslam indicated the biggest looming issue is how the state will react to the federal health care reform law, also known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
When he submitted his budget proposal to lawmakers, Haslam deferred one ACA decision — whether Tennessee should expand its Medicaid system.
“We could decide to expand tomorrow, or we could expand it five years from now,” Haslam said of the decision.
ACA’s changing Medicaid eligibility requirements, however, will bring more people into the program and cost the state $150 million to $200 million even without expansion, Haslam said.
With the “Tennessee Civil Rights Initiative” and related legislation, Sen. Jim Summerville says he is trying to end the last vestiges of discrimination in state government and public education and put everyone on equal footing insofar as race, gender and ethnicity goes.
Following the “mostly peaceful social revolution during the Dr. Martin Luther King era,” Summerville said in an interview, “there may have been a reason for preferences in hiring, in college admissions, in scholarships.”
But not anymore, said the Republican senator from Dickson, an adjunct professor at Austin Peay State University and author of several books involving history research.
“These laws just aren’t needed anymore,” he said. “It’s time to let it all go. We are at another level now.”
A report from Hank Hayes:
BLOUNTVILLE — Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey told higher education officials Monday that contrary to their wishes, he will introduce legislation to allow handgun carry permit holders to keep their weapons locked up in their personal vehicles.
“I’ve already got it drafted …The (newspaper) headline will be ‘Guns On Campus,’ but that’s not what we’re talking about,” Ramsey, R-Blountville, said of the bill at an annual luncheon held at Northeast State Community College between area lawmakers and higher education officials affiliated with the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR).
College campus police chiefs, in addition to business interests, opposed a bill in the last legislative session to prevent employers and landowners from prohibiting gun permit holders from storing guns in locked personal vehicles. The bill didn’t make it to floor votes in the House or Senate.
Dean Blevins, director of the Tennessee Technology Center at Elizabethton, reminded lawmakers early in the meeting that TBR opposes “any attempt to expand the presence of guns on college campuses” and asked them to exempt the higher education system out of any gun legislation.
After Blevins spoke, higher education operational and capital needs dominated the luncheon discussion until Ramsey took his gun permit card out of his wallet and held it up.
“It amazes me that when you put g-u-n in a sentence, people seem to lose common sense,” Ramsey, R-Blountville, said. “Something is going to pass this year. I want to put this behind us and forget about it. …About four percent of the people in the state of Tennessee have a gun carry permit card. …You have to take a half-day class, take a test on a (shooting) range, and go through a TBI (Tennessee Bureau of Investigation) and FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) background check.
By Lucas Johnson, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee State University’s new president said troubles at her alma mater, including accusations of grade fixing, can be resolved by creating a sense of unity along with better communication.
Glenda Baskin Glover, current dean of the College of Business at Jackson State University in Jackson, Miss., was chosen from four finalists last week. The Tennessee Board of Regents voted unanimously during a special meeting Tuesday to approve her appointment.
Glover, who earned her bachelor’s degree at Tennessee State in mathematics in 1974, will take over as president on Jan. 2 with a salary of $279,000.
She told the board she’s “honored and excited” to return to the historically black college in Nashville.
“It’s an awesome feeling, as well as an awesome responsibility,” Glover said.
Glover replaces interim president Portia Shields, who came to the university in early 2011 to make reforms for the school to gain a necessary full accreditation.
News release from governor’s office:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced the appointments of seven new members to Tennessee’s higher education boards.
Evan Cope and Adam Jarvis will serve as new members of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC). Vicky Gregg, Shalin Shah and Victoria Steinberg will serve as new members of the University of Tennessee (UT) Board of Trustees. Ashley Humphrey and Dr. Bob Raines will serve as members of the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR).
The governor serves as chairman of the board of directors for the TBR and UT systems, and in July, Haslam announced his focus on post-secondary education in Tennessee, particularly in the areas of affordability, access, quality and workforce development.
“While college isn’t for everyone, when only 23 percent of Tennesseans have a degree from a four-year institution, we need to do a better job of preparing more students to go to college and to graduate,” Haslam said. “I appreciate the willingness of these men and women to serve the state, and I look forward to working with them as we work to tackle these complex issues.”
Gov. Bill Haslam has sent an invitation to members of the UT Board of Trustee, the Board of Regents and others sheds for a meeting next week that will launch his planned review of higher education with an eye toward some sort of changes, reports Richard Locker. “Governor Haslam is kicking off his review of post-secondary education in Tennessee by convening higher education and business leaders from across the state. The meeting will also feature presentations by three leading higher education policy experts and the Governor will moderate discussions after each presentation,” the invitation says.
The governor’s press office said Monday that the invitation list also includes the top administrators of the two college and university systems, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association (which serves 35 private, nonprofit institutions), the two speakers of the state House and Senate, the chairmen of the House and Senate finance and education committees, and officers of the Tennessee Business Roundtable and Tennessee Chamber of Commerce. The meeting will run from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the governor’s residence.
Haslam has said that topics he wants to explore include higher ed financing, construction needs and “governance” — the administrative structure of the two college and university systems and the campuses themselves. That includes, he has said, greater autonomy for the University of Memphis within the Board of Regents system.
And while state appropriations for K-12 public education have steadily increased during the recession, they have actually declined for higher education, including another 2 percent cut in general appropriations for the upcoming school year. As a result, tuition and fees have steadily increased as students and their families have picked up an increasing share of the costs of their college educations. Through the mid-1980s, the state paid about 70 percent of what its public colleges and universities cost to operate. By the 2011-12 school year, the state’s share was down to 34 percent for the universities and 40 percent at the community colleges, according to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.
From 1993, when many of last year’s college freshmen were born, through the last school year, tuition and mandatory fees paid by in-state students on the state’s public campuses rose by an average 340 percent. Over the last two weeks, the two governing boards have approved tuition and fee increases of 8 percent at UT Knoxville, 7 percent at the U of M and several other TBR schools, and between 4 and 5 percent at community colleges.
By Lucas Johnson, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Some Tennessee college students this fall could see an increase in tuition and fees of more than 7 percent that was recommended Tuesday by the finance committee of the state Board of Regents.
The increases will be presented later this month to the full board, which oversees six universities, 13 community colleges and 27 technology centers. East Tennessee State University has the potentially highest increase at 7.2 percent and Austin Peay, the lowest at 3.4 percent.
The average increase for the community colleges was about 4.3 percent, and the technology centers was about 6.2 percent.
Regents Chancellor John Morgan said no rise in tuition is ever welcomed, but that this necessary for the institutions to address certain needs, such as salaries and maintenance costs.