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Cost of college jumps

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By Cindy Simpson

Roane State Community College and Tennessee Technology Center will both see rising tuition and fees after the Tennessee Board of Regents approved increases last week for all its institutions.

The board also approved a 3-percent cost-of-living allowance for all regular, eligible board of regents employees.

Roane State and other community college students across the state can expect to pay $132 more per semester.

Tennessee Technology Center at Harriman students can expect to pay $80 more per semester.

The new rates will generate 9.5 percent revenue increases at all of the state’s community colleges and Tennessee Technology Centers, a release from the TBR said.

“It pains us to raise tuition on our campuses. Unfortunately as the state’s capacity to fund higher education continually erodes, students are forced to pick up more of the cost to provide a quality education,” said TBR Chancellor John Morgan.

In addition to increases, students will also pay different rates based on the number of credit hours they take.

“Beginning in 2009, the TBR decided to stop ‘capping’ tuition charges at 12 hours (until then, students who enrolled in more than 12 credit hours a semester only paid for the first 12). To gradually remove that cap, TBR institutions began charging credit hours over 12 at a greatly discounted rate, which will be lowered to 80 percent this fall,” a TBR news release said.

Roane State President Gary Goff encouraged students to pursue financial aid as soon as possible.

“We strongly encourage students to complete their financial aid forms as soon as possible to give themselves the best possible opportunities to receive grants and scholarships,” said Roane State President Gary Goff.

“Scholarships provided through the Roane State Foundation are available each year, and community organizations and area businesses offer scholarships.

Researching scholarship opportunities and completing required paperwork is especially important for students as tuition costs increase,” Goff added.

The TBR also announced significant loss of more than $170 million in Federal Recovery Act funds.

“All of public higher education must address an additional 2 percent cut in state funding for the coming year,” the TBR release said.

Roane State was prepared for the end of stimulus funding reducing their operating budget and used that period to make budget reductions. Goff said as a result of that planning the end of stimulus funding will not cause any significant disruption to the college’s current operations.

“Even during these tough economic times for the college, we will provide a world-class learning environment for our students and an outstanding work environment for all our employees. We will continue to be a premier learning institution that transforms lives, strengthens communities and inspires individuals to excellence,” Goff said.

Austin Peay State University, East Tennessee State University and Tennessee State University in-state undergraduates taking 12 hours will pay $192 more each semester for tuition/maintenance fees.

Middle Tennessee State University and Tennessee Technological University students will pay $216 more.

University of Tennessee at Knoxville undergraduates will see a 12 percent increase, or $774 a year more for in-state students and $892 for in-state graduate students.

UT-Chattanooga in-state undergraduates will pay $486 a  year more, and in-state graduate students will pay $583 more.

At UT-Martin, in-state undergraduates will pay $508 more. In-state graduate students will pay $606 more.

UT Health Science Center will see a 15 percent increase for in and out of state tuition for most programs, and UT Veterinary Medicine will see a 6 percent or $1,099 a year increase for in-state students and 4 percent or $1,664 a year more for out-of-state students. The budget also included tuition increases for all campuses effective this fall.