CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) -- A Tennessee university plans to offer discounted tuition starting this fall to students from nine surrounding states.
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga officials said the goal of the new regional tuition program is to attract and retain diverse talent in the area as well as reach enrollment goals laid out for the University of Tennessee system, The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported.
"We really have paid attention to Tennessee residents and how we serve the state of Tennessee well," university Chancellor Steve Angle said. "This kind of is rounding out our student body and bringing in additional young people to this community that can add to the economy and hopefully drive the future of the region. We are trying to set UTC up to be a net importer of talent in the community."
Under the program, students from Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia would pay about $18,000 a year instead of about $26,000 a year as out-of-state students.
"This absolutely reflects a shift in thinking commensurate with the future in thinking in higher education," said Tennessee Higher Education Commission Executive Director Mike Krause. “This is the right thing to do for Tennessee. We know a student is likely to stay in the city where they went to college.”
An existing program that offers tuition discounts to residents of neighboring counties in Georgia and Alabama would remain in effect.
The university has an enrollment of nearly 11,700 students. About 10% of those are from outside Tennessee.
Other Tennessee schools that have tuition programs or partnerships with neighboring counties or states include the University of Memphis, Austin Peay State University and the University of Tennessee at Martin.