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Office of General Counsel Policies & Guidelines

Permanent or Semi-Permanent Off-Campus Instructional Facilities :

Policy/Guideline Area

Academic Policies

Applicable Divisions

TCATs, Community Colleges


The establishment of standards and procedures for the Tennessee Board of Regents’ institutions to seek every means of facilitating student access, and fostering their participation in the programs that the institutions provide.


  • Semi-Permanent Off-Campus Instructional Facilities - A semi-permanent off-campus instructional facility is one leased by the institution with prior approval of the Board for multi-year use.
  • Permanent Off-Campus Instructional Facilities - A permanent off-campus instructional facility is one owned by the Tennessee Board of Regents for use by one or more of its institutions. Ownership of such facilities may be inherent or derived.
  • Inherent Ownership - facility is approved, built or purchased, and maintained, in whole or in part, through the use of state funds appropriated for that specific purpose.
  • Derived Ownership - the facility is donated to and accepted by the Tennessee Board of Regents and is maintained through the use of state funds appropriated for that specific purpose.


  1. Introduction
    1. The Tennessee Board of Regents recognizes and strongly supports Tennessee's long-standing public policy of providing access for Tennesseans to public higher education.
    2. By the adoption into law of the Tennessee Challenge 2000 goals (T.C.A. § 49-5-5024), Tennessee formally recognizes the fundamental role of higher education in improving the quality of life of its citizens and in nurturing and sustaining the economic life of their communities and the State.
    3. Counties with limited access and low participation rates are invariably among the poorest in the state.
    4. In support of this public policy, therefore, the Tennessee Board of Regents directs its institutions to seek every means of facilitating student access and fostering their participation in the programs that the institutions provide.
    5. In so doing, the Board takes special note of the many citizens who, because of economic, family, work conditions, and geographic location, may find participation in post-secondary education difficult if not impossible.
    6. The Board encourages its institutions to reach out to these citizens by providing them both off-campus and technologically-delivered instruction as well as support services such as day-care, evening, week-end, and compressed scheduling of classes, sponsored scholarships, and financial aid.
  2. Quality and Efficiency Standards
    1. In carrying out this charge, however, quality and efficiency are and must be the controlling factors.
    2. Institutions must in all circumstances ensure that the quality of instruction meets or exceeds the national standards of good practice and is comparable in quality and results to the instruction provided on the main campus.
  3. Selection of Off-Campus Instructional Facilities
    1. These standards of quality and efficiency extend to the selection of off-campus instructional sites. Off-campus instructional facilities must be both conducive to learning and efficient in their operation.
    2. As a norm, institutions will seek to offer instruction in schools, community buildings, industrial training centers, and other such facilities where suitable space is provided at little or no cost to the institution and the state.
    3. Approval of these temporary instructional sites is subject to the provisions of TBR Guideline A-020, Inter-institutional Relationships & Off-Campus Offerings.
  4. Establishment of Semi-Permanent or Permanent Off-Campus Instructional Facilities
    1. The Board recognizes, however, that under certain conditions and circumstances, a semi-permanent or permanent off-campus instructional facility designed to serve the needs of one or more institutions may be warranted or necessary and cost-effective.
    2. In such instances, institutions or the Board itself may initiate the process for the establishment of a semi-permanent or permanent off-campus teaching facility.
    3. Recognition of need for such a facility will generally grow out of the institutions or the Board's own strategic planning process. In every case, however, the establishment of a semi-permanent or permanent off-campus instructional facility must be thoroughly planned in advance and involve the Board and its staff throughout the planning process.
    4. To facilitate this planning, the Board, therefore, establishes the following rules governing the development of semi-permanent or permanent off-campus instructional facilities.
      1. Process for Establishing Semi-Permanent or Permanent Off-Campus Facilities
        1. The establishment of semi-permanent or permanent off-campus facilities constitutes a major investment on the part of the institution and the state and, therefore, requires proper planning and prior approval by the Board.
        2. The institution shall initiate the approval process in the following manner:
          1. Preliminary Assessment. The institution shall assess current access and participation conditions in the targeted area and the needs of its instructional program in that area. This assessment shall be strictly an internal process and shall not include assessment of the external support, possible funding sources, or the level of local and private interest. The focus, instead, shall be on the instructional needs of students in that area and on the facilities necessary for delivering the needed instruction. The assessment must, as a minimum, address the following considerations:
            1. A description of the geographic area under consideration;
            2. Distance from and the quality of access to the main campus, other off-campus facilities, and other public or private post-secondary institutions;
            3. The level of educational achievement in the area as denoted in U.S. Census data and other sources;
            4. The number of students from the area who currently participate in post-secondary education and the institutions at which they are enrolled;
            5. The programs and courses currently offered in the area by the proposing institution and other public or private institutions;
            6. Historical enrollments of local residents in courses provided locally by the proposing institution or by other institutions;
            7. The number of temporary instructional facilities currently in use, the quality and suitability of those facilities, and total square footage in use;
            8. Current costs for rent, delivery of support services, maintenance, etc. associated with the use of each temporary instructional facility;
            9. The programs and courses needed but which cannot be delivered because of space or quality of space limitations;
            10. The ability of delivering the needed programs and services by Distance Education technologies; and
            11. The availability of additional space in the area suitable for the delivery of the needed programs and courses and the estimated cost of that space.
          2. Letter of Intent. Upon determination of probable need, the president or director shall notify the Chancellor by Letter of Intent that conditions in the given locale or region are such that a semi-permanent or permanent instructional facility may be necessary and warranted. A copy of the outcomes of the Preliminary Assessment should be attached.
          3. Economic Impact Analysis. Upon receipt of the institution's Letter of Intent and its Preliminary Assessment, the Chancellor shall direct the staff to conduct a thorough study to determine the economic viability that will accrue to the region and the residents thereof by the development of the instructional facility. This study will, among other things, include an analysis of the region's current economy and a forecast of the long-term impact that the proposed facility will have on the economy of the targeted region.
          4. Authorization to Proceed. After thorough staff review of the Preliminary assessment outcomes, the Chancellor shall notify the president or director that either:
            1. The conditions described in the Preliminary Assessment warrant further consideration and that the institution is authorized to proceed with a full-scale Feasibility Study or
            2. The present conditions as described in the Preliminary Assessment do not warrant further consideration at the moment.
              1. Prior to receiving the Letter of Authorization, the institution must not discuss the facility publically nor seek to enlist public or private support for its establishment.
              2. The use of any funds, public or private, raised or committed prior to the receipt of the Letter of Authorization will be subject to review by the Chancellor and the Board.
          5. Feasibility Study. Upon receipt of the Letter of Authorization to Proceed, the institution shall organize and conduct a feasibility study. The study should accomplish the following objectives:
            1. Define and document the extent and level of need;
            2. Define the type (lecture rooms, labs, etc.), quality, and amount of space needed;
            3. Determine whether or not the space needed may be currently available through lease or purchase;
            4. Determine the approximate cost of leasing, purchasing, or constructing the semi-permanent or permanent instructional facility;
            5. Determine and document the level of private and local financial support that will be made available; and
            6. Determine the amount of appropriated funding that would be required to purchase or build a permanent facility or to lease a semi-permanent facility.
          6. Determination of Feasibility. Upon completion of the Feasibility Study, the president or director shall determine whether or not a positive recommendation to the Board is warranted. If a positive recommendation is warranted, the president or director shall communicate the recommendation by letter to the Chancellor. The recommendation must be accompanied by a full copy of the Feasibility Study.
          7. Staff Review and Chancellor's Response. Upon receipt of the president's or director's recommendation, the staff will conduct a thorough review of the Feasibility Study and may, as needed, request additional information and clarification from the institution. At the conclusion of the review, the Chancellor shall inform the president of the outcomes of the staff's review.
          8. Board Review and Action. If the staff review has been positive, the Chancellor shall communicate the staff's findings to the Board along with a recommendation for approval and authorization to plan.
          9. Planning and Implementation. Upon approval by the Board, the institution will, in consultation with the TBR Facilities Office, proceed to formal planning of the facility, ensuring that all the requirements of Board policy, Building Commission, and other state agencies are strictly followed.



T.C.A. §§ 49-8-203, 49-5-5024


TBR Meetings: June 19, 1998

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