Public universities in Tennessee could be looking at tuition increases that range from 4 to 8 percent as the Tennessee Board of Regents prepares to make up for reduced state revenue.
Formal tuition proposals won't be ready until May 27. But at a TBR Finance Committee meeting Thursday, officials gave school-by-school estimates for maintenance fee increases based on needs and new requests articulated by the institutions.
Dale Sims, TBR's vice chancellor for business and finance, called the numbers "as much as anything a sharing of information" and stressed that none of the amounts has been recommended for a final vote. They are:
• Austin Peay State University — 4.9 percent
• East Tennessee State University — 8 percent
• Middle Tennessee State University — 5 percent
• Tennessee State University — 4.2 percent
• Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology — 8.5 percent
• University of Memphis has outlined a plan that would allow it to avoid a tuition increase.
Meanwhile, the state's community colleges, which also fall under TBR, could be facing tuition increases that range from 2.6 percent to 10.6 percent, under preliminary documents reviewed by officials Thursday.
A new state plan pushed by Gov. Bill Haslam to offer free community college tuition to high school graduates doesn't kick in until 2015.
The University of Tennessee system won't have a tuition recommendation until June 19. UT officials, though, have discussed a 4 percent to 6 percent increase at its campuses.
The state's budget eliminated new funding for higher education even though a $29.6 million increase had been recommended by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. Even if that funding had been allocated, a 2 percent to 4 percent fee increase had been suggested.
"You just do the math, and instead of 2 to 4 percent, you end up being at 4 to 8 percent," TBR Chancellor John Morgan said. "That's fairly consistent with what you're seeing — at least at this stage of the conversation with the institutions."
Tennessee in 2010 adopted a plan to reward colleges financially for meeting certain performance outcomes. The state has not delivered adequate funds, however, to carry it out.
"It's important, I think, we do the best job we can in trying to control the cost side of the equation," Morgan said. "But at the same time, we've got to recognize that we're asking our institutions to generate improved outcomes, which results in the desire of those institutions to be able to finance various kinds of strategies and initiatives."