Tuition was officially set by the Tennessee Board of Regents Friday, and local college students will see an increase in the amount they pay for class this fall.
East Tennessee State University saw the largest increase in overall cost at $546 more per year per undergraduate student who takes at least 15 hours of class each semester, and the majority of that will go to support faculty and staff raises and the school’s new football program.
Community college students, which includes students who attend Northeast State Community College, will pay an additional $102 per year.
“While we regret any increase in cost to students, we are grateful to be able to limit the extent of the increases this year thanks to additional state funding,” TBR Chancellor John Morgan said in a news release. “Our state leaders have recognized the critical role higher education plays in our state’s economic development.”
ETSU students will now pay 7.8 percent more than last year for this fall’s tuition, which includes 4.5 percent considered maintenance fees/tuition approved Friday and other fees, including the athletic fee to support a new football team that was approved earlier this year.
The cost will now be $7,543 for the year for students taking 15 hours each semester.
Earlier this year, ETSU students in the Student Government Association approved a resolution asking ETSU President Brian Noland to pursue a football program at an increase of $125 in the athletics fee per student per semester.
A complete list of maintenance fee/tuition and mandatory fee increases is available at http://tbr.edu/student_information/default.aspx?id=8205
According to the TBR, the increases in maintenance fees/tuition are needed to fund the portion of the mandated 1.5 percent salary increase for all state employees that was not funded through state appropriations and inflation cost increases in utilities and insurance. Most institutions also requested additional increases to fund efforts to support student success.
ETSU President Brian Noland said Friday that three percent of that 4.5 percent increase levied Friday will go to cover faculty and staff raises mandated by Nashville. The remaining 1.5 percent will go to salary equity enhancements for ETSU employees.
“We’re at a point, not only in the state but in the nation as a whole, where we are in many respects moving toward a private higher education model,” Noland said. “We will continue to be efficient, to be thoughtful, to be wise stewards of the public’s resources.”
Noland said the fee increases approved Friday are among the lowest in a long time and the majority of that goes to help bring up the pay for ETSU employees. Pay for ETSU employees is among the lowest of their peers, Noland said.
“In order for us to retain our faculty, to retain those individuals who are the heartbeat of the university, we have to offer competitive salaries. We’re in a national market for faculty and we’ve begun a multi-year process to move our salaries so that, not only can we keep the faculty that we have at ETSU, but that we can attract new faculty to the institution as we begin to grow."