In a full agenda, the Tennessee Tech Board of Trustees approved a nearly four percent tuition and fees increase, voted to establish Tech’s newest academic college, adopted a board policy on free speech at the university, and approved a proposed budget for 2017-2018.
For 2017-2018, an undergraduate student taking 15 credit hours will see an increase in maintenance and mandatory fees of $161 per semester.
The university’s maintenance fee (also known as tuition) covers up to 15 credit hours per semester for a student. For 2017-2018, it will be $3,828 per semester, an increase of $138 over 2016-2017. This is a 3.74 percent increase. Out-of-state students pay this maintenance fee, plus a per semester out-of-state tuition rate, which remained at $7,932. However, out-of-state students within 250 miles of Tech qualify for the Eagle’s Reach program, which offers a significant reduction to the out-of-state tuition rate.
The board also approved an increase in select mandatory fees, which are paid by all Tech students. The increased fees are the student athletic fee and the campus recreation fee. The remaining four mandatory fees remain the same as last year. The combined fees will increase $23 for 2017-2018, a 3.9 percent increase.
This year, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission set a legally binding four percent cap on tuition for all state universities and colleges. This authority was given to the commission under last year’s FOCUS Act.
The board also approved a $280 increase in graduate maintenance fees for 2017-2018. This increase is not subject to THEC’s binding rates. The graduate maintenance fee covers up to 10 credit hours per semester and will be $4,880, a six percent increase.
College of Fine Arts
The new College of Fine Arts, pending final approval from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission later this month, will consist of Tech’s School of Art, Craft and Design and a newly established School of Music. The School of Art, Craft and Design was previously housed in the university’s College of Education, as was the Department of Music.
Housing these programs in an identifiable college will help build identity and visibility for fine arts at Tech, strengthening opportunities for recognition of alumni, current students and the strong arts offerings at the university.
The restructured College of Education – with the departments of counseling and psychology; curriculum and instruction; and exercise science, physical education and wellness – will also better align to accreditation requirements.
The free speech policy is in response to The Campus Free Speech Protection Act, which was passed by the state legislature and signed by Gov. Bill Haslam this year. The legislation requires each public university board to adopt a policy that provides certain protections related to speech on campus. Both the statute and policy reaffirm the First Amendment.
2017-2018 Budget, including employee compensation
The board approved a 2017-2018 budget of $156 million, including approximately $2 million to cover the state-mandated three percent payroll increase pool. A one percent raise, effective July 1, will be given to all benefited employees who were with the university by Dec. 31, 2016. The remaining two percent of the pool will be used to fund the university’s compensation plans for faculty and staff, and any raises under these plans will be effective Aug. 1.
In other action, the board approved:
- Tenure and/or promotion for 38 different faculty members (25 tenure and 27 promotion)
- Emeriti President contracts for former presidents Angelo Volpe and Bob Bell
- Extension of intercollegiate athletics director Mark Wilson’s contract for five years
Various university policies as part of the transition from Tennessee Board of
- Regents governance to Tech’s independent board
- Meeting dates for 2017-2018
- Materials from today’s meeting and the webcast of the full board meeting are available at the board’s website, www.tntech.edu/board.
The board’s next meeting is Aug. 17, 2017.