Watch the full meeting recording here 

1. Overall community college enrollment continues to decline, but there are some bright spots. 

 Overall community college enrollment declined almost 9%, which is 7,043 fewer students than at the end of the term in fall of 2020. The number of Black students dropped by 8% from 2020 and by 22% since 2019. However, first-time students enrolling after a “gap year” following high school increased by 57% from last year, and students participating in higher education in prison programs has doubled since 2019.   

2. Community college graduation rates improved, but equity gaps persist.  

The 2018 cohort of first-time, full-time students graduated at the highest rate ever with a 26% completion rate in 2021. Though overall graduation rates have nearly doubled since 2010, gaps persist especially for Black students. Only 13% of Black students in the same 2018-21 cohort graduated within three years.  

 3. TCAT registrations and dual enrollment significantly increased this fall.  

More than 12,000 students are registered to attend a TCAT this fall, which is about 1,000 more students than at the same time in fall 2020. 16 of the 27 TCATs report registration increases compared to this time last year. Additionally, TCAT registration by dual enrolled high school students has increased 47% compared to last fall. TCAT programs are generally designed to be completed in one calendar year and offer competency based training focused on strengthening the state’s workforce.   

 4. TBR’s external affairs committee approved TBR’s six priorities for the upcoming legislative session.  

Each year the Board of Regents approves a set of legislative priorities for TBR’s government affairs staff to advance during the General Assembly. This year’s agenda includes supporting efforts to expand college access and affordability, enhancing safety and campus security, and encouraging systems of faculty recruitment and retention that ensure students are instructed by a diverse group of faculty.  

 5. TBR has established a police department (TBRPD) to increase security at the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology. 

The newly formed TBRPD recently submitted its paperwork to the Tennessee Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission, which is responsible for enforcing standards and training for all Tennessee police officers. Currently, no law enforcement agency is responsible for policing any of the TCATs, so TBRPD will provide those services through four operational regions across the state. The police department will also have a strong emergency management focus to assist all TBR institutions in times of crisis.  

Equity Considerations:

  • Last fall Tennessee’s community college enrollment declined 10% and this year an additional 9%, how can we leverage programs like Tennessee Reconnect to reengage these students in postsecondary education?  
    • Those declines were even steeper for Black students, what key services and messaging exist to reengage and support Black students specifically in postsecondary education?  
  • How can we increase the number of Black and Latino students participating in dual enrollment programs?  
  • How can we raise graduation rates for Black and Latino students?