NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Higher Education Commission this afternoon approved tuition hikes of 3 to 6 percent next fall for students attending the UT-Chattanooga, Chattanooga State and Cleveland State.
Students attending the state’s 26 free-standing state technology centers and a 27th one located at Chattanooga State face increases of between 5 to 10 percent.
Top increase ranges factor in Gov. Bill Haslam’s directive to state departments and agencies to submit budgets that they prepare for additional budget cuts of up to 5 percent.
THEC Executive Director Richard Rhoda explained to members that staff recommendations discussed in an earlier meeting Thursday “are complying with the administration’s request on that.”
A 5 percent cut amounts to a $51 million reduction in state support for the University of Tennessee and State Board of Regents systems.
The bottom of the tuition increase reflects higher education officials hope that Haslam will provide the systems with a $28.2 million increase in state appropriations.
THEC commissioners’ actions now go to state lawmakers where they will be reviewed and included as part of the state’s 2012-13 budget. Higher education officials are expected to present their budget and tuition recommendations to Haslam during his ongoing public budget hearings for government departments and agencies on Tuesday.
Final tuition tuition and fee figures won’t be final until May or June for schools for the school year that begins in August.
The tuition hikes reflect the continuation of a trend in which state officials are forcing students to pay a greater share of funding their public education. The trend accelerated as a result of the “Great Recession” and the current slow recovery of state revenues.
Over the previous five years, students have seen tuition increases ranging between 38 percent to 49 percent at college and university campuses.
In the current 2011-12 school year alone, tuition jumped between 7.4 percent to 13.7 percent for students at public colleges and universities.
Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...