The Tennessee Higher Education Commission decided to freeze tuition at state public colleges for the 2022-2023 school year, citing a higher cost of living for students.
During a meeting on May 19, the commission voted in favor of a proposal that would freeze tuition at all public colleges and universities within the state for the 2022-2023 school year.
Commission Chairman Evan Cope said that students are already dealing with the effects of higher prices for gas, housing, groceries, and gas, and said the tuition freeze can be considered a "source of relief" for student's checkbooks.
"Students are already facing higher prices for housing, groceries, and gas. Thanks to a generous investment from the state and today’s action from the Commission, we’re able to tell these students that they won’t be paying higher prices for tuition. That can be a source of relief for student checkbooks," Cope said.
The commission was able to freeze tuition across Tennessee's public colleges and universities because of a so-called "historic" investment from the state to the funding mechanism for public colleges and universities.
A statement from the commission says that it "sets binding tuition and fee ranges" for public colleges and universities within the state, adding that no public institution can increase tuition and fees beyond the binding range for the following academic year.
When setting the tuition and fee ranges, the commission says it considers factors such as inflation, enrollment patterns, and affordability for students and families. This year's binding tuition rate is set at "zero to zero percent.
Tennessee Higher Education Commission executive director Emily House called the vote a "huge win" for students and their families.
"THEC has been laser-focused on student affordability, and THEC’s tuition setting policy plays a large role in our ability to ensure students can afford to go to college. The vote by the Commission today represents years of conversations and hard work to get to this point. We can’t thank Governor Lee and the General Assembly enough for helping to put us in a position to make this happen," House said.