Chief Financial Officer B.J. King discussed factors to be considered when developing recommendations to increase tuition and mandatory fees by January. Those factors included the level of state support and funding, total cost of attendance, potential efforts to “mitigate the financial effect on students,” Tennessee Higher Education Committee tuition and mandatory fee increase ranges, projected enrollment, university goals and other market factors.
The board also approved a 2019 proposal by the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology to offer a complete 36-credit M.A. program in criminal justice online for a total fee of $19,800, $550 per credit.
Following the approval of the new degree program, Vice President for Student Affairs Joe Sherlin reported on strategic goals met by the university since 2012. Sherlin reported a 6 percent increase in undergraduate credit gains, a 6.8 percent increase in freshmen retention, a 3 percent increase in the graduation rate to 44.2 percent, a 16 percent increase in degrees awarded and an additional $20 million in state appropriations.
“Since 2012, all of our overall metrics are up,” Sherlin said.
ETSU President Brian Noland once again reiterated the university’s strategic goals set to be met by 2026, which he addressed last month in his State of the University Address. These goals include increasing enrollment by over 3,000 to 18,000, enrolling 3,500 out-of-state students, a 16 percent graduate rate increase to 60 percent, garnering $60 million for research and other sponsored activities, attracting 12,000 freshmen with average ACT scores of 24 and housing 3,500 students on campus.
While positive progress has been made in meeting these goals, Noland said, the university needs to “keep pushing,” especially in terms of enrollment growth, which currently sits under 14,500.
“Those are aggressive goals,” Noland said. “Our ability to get 18,000 students is going to take a great deal of work.”
The board also issued a Resolution of Appreciation for Bethany Flora, the associate director of the ETSU Center for Community College Leadership and professor of post-secondary leadership who was recently named the new president of Northeast State Community College.
“It’s rare that we have a chance to have one of our own transition from our institution to become a president,” Noland said.
Flora said she is looking forward to taking on the new position in January after interim President James King’s term is up.
“To be a part of that family again means a lot,” she said of going back to where she “began her career.”