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Tennessee's colleges need about $40 million in additional state funding coupled with a 5 to 7 percent tuition increase to maintain current programs, a top higher education official said.

Richard Rhoda, executive director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, told Gov. Phil Bredesen during a budget hearing that he felt a 4.1 percent increase in higher education funding was a modest request.
Tennessee's colleges need about $40 million in additional state funding coupled with a 5 to 7 percent tuition increase to maintain current programs, a top higher education official said.

Richard Rhoda, executive director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, told Gov. Phil Bredesen during a budget hearing that he felt a 4.1 percent increase in higher education funding was a modest request.

The tuition increase would bring in about $40 million, Rhoda said, for a total infusion of $80 million next year. The University of Tennessee and Tennessee Board of Regents systems' operating budgets total about $2 billion.

A 5 percent tuition increase would translate to an extra $281 per year at UT's main campus in Knoxville. Regents schools would see a $184 hike, with the exception of the University of Memphis, which would see a $211 jump. Community college tuition would increase $107. (The Tennessean, Nov. 30, 2006)

ETSU may be one of the first colleges in the country to go completely wireless a little more than a year from now.

Mark Bragg, assistant vice president for information technology, said requests have been voiced to the Office of Information Technology to make the campus wireless.

"We've been working on this a little over a year," Bragg said. "We hope to start next spring (2008), but if things go well we'll have a good portion done this fall.

The project, which has been estimated to cost between $500,000 and $1 million, is being undertaken as part of the technology access fee and is undergoing requests for proposals from companies to install the wireless connections.

After a bid is accepted, the next step would be to install wireless access points throughout the campus. An analysis has been done to determine where to install the wireless access points, which could either be on top of buildings or light poles. (www.easttennessean.com, Nov. 30, 2006)

Rita Sanders Geier, the civil rights pioneer who once filed suit to challenge the constitutionality of Tennessee's higher education system, will speak to University of Tennessee graduates during the Fall 2006 commencement ceremony Dec. 17.

The ceremony will be held at 3 p.m at the Thompson-Boling Assembly Center and Arena.
While a Tennessee State University faculty member in 1968, Geier filed suit to challenge the constitutionality of Tennessee's higher education system, alleging it was still segregated. The suit resulted in the 2001 Geier Consent Decree, which provided millions of dollars in state funds to diversify students and faculty of all state colleges.

The consent decree was dismissed earlier this year. (The Tennessean, Dec. 1, 2006)

A study by the Business and Economic Research Center (BERC) at Middle Tennessee State University reports that MTSU ranks high in the area of diversity and is the fastest growing university in the region, though at capacity.

The study, "Measuring the Economic Impact of Middle Tennessee University" is one part of a regional study funded by the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce released last week.

"In terms of raw numbers, there is no question that MTSU is the fastest-growing university, not only in the region but in the state," said MTSU President Sidney McPhee.

An aspect of MTSU's long-range plan is to draw from a diverse field of incoming students and to provide in-kind programs, McPhee said.

The regional study looked at fives issues, including economic impact of universities and the value of higher education. (Daily News Journal, Nov. 30, 2006)