On July 26, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) held its summer quarterly meeting. Among the agenda items relating to the University of Tennessee were the approval of a new degree program at UT Chattanooga (UTC) and an update on the tuition and fee development process at all institutions of higher education. Brief updates on both issues are provided below.
UTC Bachelor of Applied Science in Mechatronics Engineering Technology
THEC approved a new degree program at UT Chattanooga, allowing UTC to launch a Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) degree in Mechatronics Engineering Technology beginning in Fall 2018. The program will provide a seamless transition from a Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) diploma through an Associates of Applied Science in a technical field to a bachelor’s degree. Graduates of the new program will fill significant workforce needs in advanced manufacturing and other fields requiring systems-oriented engineering technology. The degree directly responds to the needs of UTC’s industry partners such as Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), Electric Power Board (EPB), and Volkswagen. THEC approval is the final step in the approval process for the program, which was earlier approved by the UT Board of Trustees.
Tuition and Fee Development Process
At its last commission meeting, THEC approved a request for each governing board to report on their respective tuition and fee development processes. On behalf of UT President Joe DiPietro, System Budget Director Ron Loewen provided an overview of the University’s process and factors used in consideration of any increase. Loewen acknowledged the strong levels of state funding that Governor Haslam and the Tennessee General Assembly have provided. State funding remains a critical element in the overall pricing decision. Strong appropriations in recent years, combined with internal efforts to become more effective and efficient, have yielded four consecutive years of record low tuition and fee increases at the University of Tennessee. Loewen emphasized that affordability is at the forefront of all tuition and fee considerations. By implementing a number of efficiency measures, reallocating resources, and increasing alternative revenue streams, the University of Tennessee has made strides in access and affordability, spearheaded by the President’s Budget Advisory Group.
Other items included in the presentation were enrollment patterns and the net price of tuition as well as the binding tuition and fee increase ranges established by THEC. To watch the archived meeting or to review the meeting materials, please click here.