The board unanimously approved recommendations of TBR’s staff and Finance and Business Operations Committee for no tuition or student fee increase, for both in-state and out-of-state students, for 2020-21. That is in recognition of the economic conditions prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic and Gov. Bill Lee and the General Assembly maintaining state appropriations for higher education operating funding at current levels, a TBR news release said. It is the first year without a tuition increase at Tennessee’s 13 community colleges since 1991 and the first at the 27 Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology since 2013.
Northeast Tennessee is home to Blountville-based Northeast State Community College, Morristown-based Walters State Community College, and Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology based in Elizabethton and Morristown.
The decision follows three consecutive years of combined tuition and fee increases of less than 3%. For an academic year, which is two semesters at community colleges and three trimesters at TCATs, tuition and mandatory fees for state residents attending full time range from $4,504 to $4,588 at the community colleges and $3,937 at the TCATs.
Many students attend free of tuition and mandatory fees through the Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect programs and other state and federal financial assistance.
“We recognize the economic hardships that many students and their families may be experiencing during this economic downturn, and we want to do our part to keep higher education affordable at a time when Tennesseans need us the most,” TBR Vice Chairwoman Emily J. Reynolds said.
“In doing so, we are also recognizing the state administration’s and the General Assembly’s strong commitment to higher education,” Chancellor Flora W. Tydings said. “Their commitments to funding higher education have helped to put us in a position where we can do this for our students and their families in their time of greatest need.”