MTSU Board Votes to Expand Regional Scholars Program


Middle Tennessee State University’s Board of Trustees voted last week to dramatically expand its Regional Scholars Program, which reduces tuition for select potential out-of-state students, to include all eligible residents in states that border Tennessee.

The board also extended a five-year employment contract to President Sidney A. McPhee, endorsed proposals for two new academic degree programs and confirmed the selection for a faculty Chair of Excellence.

The program, which reduces MTSU’s out-of-state tuition by almost 50 percent for qualified students, now extends to those who live anywhere within states that touch Tennessee’s border. It had been restricted to those living within a 250-mile radius of Murfreesboro.

The expansion takes effect for new and returning students starting in the 2019 fall semester. Students must maintain full-time enrollment status, which is 12 credit hours and above for undergraduates and 10 hours and above for graduate students, to remain eligible.

Undergraduate and graduate applicants who have an ACT composite of 25 and above and are from Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina and Virginia would be eligible for the program. Applicants from other states touched by the previous 250-mile radius, including parts of Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and South Carolina, would continue to be eligible.

“We will not cease in our continued efforts to move MTSU forward,” McPhee said during the board’s quarterly meeting inside the Miller Education Center. “This expansion provides even more opportunities for talented nearby students to attend our great university.”

Further, out-of-state incoming freshmen included in Regional Scholars Program who applied before Dec. 1, and have a high school GPA of 3.5 or higher, would be eligible for MTSU’s recently expanded Presidential Scholarship. The $18,000 guaranteed award is paid out at $4,500 a year for four years. Go to for more information.

The Regional Scholars Program is the second incentive offered by MTSU to out-of-state students who live near Tennessee. The university is also a member of the Academic Common Market, which allows residents of participating states to qualify for in-state tuition for unique academic majors not offered in their home state.

The Academic Common Market is open to potential students in Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. It is limited in Florida and Texas to graduate students. Go to for more information.

In other actions, the board:

· approved an employment contract for McPhee that calls for him to serve in his role through December 2023. It is the first such contract extended to McPhee, the longest-serving president of any public university in Tennessee, joining MTSU in 2001

· endorsed a proposal to ask the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, or THEC, for permission to create a Bachelor of Science program in tourism and hospitality management. The program would prepare graduates to serve as general managers and directors of hospitality operations on a systemwide basis, including both travel arrangements and promotion and the provision of traveler facilities

· approved a letter of endorsement for a Bachelor of Science in data science, the final step necessary before THEC can give final approval for a new program. The data science degree would focus on practical implications of data, programming, data cleansing and mining, big data concepts, statistics and business intelligence, and predictive analytics and machine learning;

· elevated an existing concentration in geosciences within the Master of Science in Professional Sciences program to a free-standing Master of Science degree with a major in geosciences, which will be available starting in the 2019 fall semester;

· and approved the appointment of veteran educator Deborah A. Lee as chairholder in the National Health Care Chair of Excellence in Nursing. Lee, who has taught at several institutions, including Vanderbilt University and Duke University, is currently an adjunct faculty member in MTSU’s School of Nursing.

For more information about the MTSU Board of Trustees, go to