Board of Trustees
MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, left, gives his report to the Board of Trustees during its meeting held Tuesday, June 8, 2021, inside the Miller Education Center on Bell Street. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Middle Tennessee State University’s Board of Trustees on Tuesday raised tuition and fees by 1.78% for the 2021-22 academic year — but still remains the lowest-priced among the state’s three largest universities.

The action translates to an extra $168, from $9,424 to $9,592 a year, for in-state undergraduates taking a full-time load of 15 credit hours per semester for fall and spring.

MTSU, which did not raise tuition in 2020-21 due to the pandemic, sought the increase to cover inflationary costs, as well as additional scholarships, new academic programs, technology upgrades, faculty promotions and student success initiatives.

Joey Jacobs, chair of the board’s Finance and Personnel Committee, said trustees reviewed tuition rates of peer institutions and state public universities before considering the increase.

“Even with the proposed fee increase, MTSU ranked as very affordable in comparison,” Jacobs said.

The new rate is below the 2% limit on undergraduate tuition and fee adjustments allowed by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. MTSU’s tuition remains below both the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and the University of Memphis.

Meanwhile, Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey addressed trustees and thanked President Sidney A. McPhee for MTSU’s efforts during the pandemic and its work to return to normal campus operations in the fall.

“I want you to know how special of a team that you have,” Piercey said. “When we were going through this … there wasn’t a clear, right answer to hardly anything. It even became more important to have partners when we were managing this thing together. …

“You guys not only have been an example for the state, we in Tennessee, and particularly MTSU, have been an example for the nation.”

In other actions, trustees:

  • Raised graduate tuition an additional 3%, which still makes MTSU’s rate the third-lowest among Tennessee public schools;
  • Approved 22 faculty candidates recommended for tenure and 38 candidates for promotion;
  • Approved a one-time bonus for employees equivalent to six months of a 2% salary increase or $500, whichever is greater, for regular full- and part-time employees as of Dec. 31, 2020. The state appropriated funding for the bonuses;
  • Welcomed Rick Cottle, an associate professor of fashion and apparel, to a two-year term as faculty trustee, replacing mathematics professor Mary Martin;
  • And also welcomed Gabriela James, a senior in communications studies, to a one-year term as student trustee, replacing graduate student Delanie McDonald.

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