(a) (1) Disabled persons suffering from a permanent total disability that totally incapacitates the person from working at an occupation that brings the person an income, and persons who have retired from state service with thirty (30) or more years of service, regardless of age, or persons who will become sixty (60) years of age or older during the academic quarter or semester, whichever is applicable, in which such persons begin classes and, who are domiciled in Tennessee, may audit courses at any state-supported college or university without paying tuition charges, maintenance fees, student activity fees or registration fees; however, this privilege may be limited or denied by the college or university on an individual classroom basis according to space availability.
(2) This section shall not apply at medical schools, dental or pharmacy schools, and no institution of higher education shall be required to make physical alterations of its buildings or other facilities to comply with this section.
(3) Prior to admittance, the university or college involved may require an affidavit or certificate from a physician or an agency charged with compensating the disabled person or adjudicating the permanent total disability of the person who is requesting admittance to classes that the person is permanently totally disabled as set forth in subdivision (a)(1).
(4) A student who is receiving services under federal or state vocational rehabilitation programs is not eligible for a waiver of tuition and fee benefits under this section.
(b) Subject to the same terms and conditions as provided in subsection (a), disabled persons, as defined in subsection (a), and persons who will become sixty-five (65) years of age or older during the academic quarter or semester, whichever is applicable, in which such persons begin classes and, who are domiciled in this state, may be enrolled in courses for credit at state-supported colleges and universities without payment of tuition charges, maintenance fees, student activity fees or registration fees, except that the board of trustees of the University of Tennessee and the board of regents of the state university and community college system may provide for a service fee that may be charged by the institutions under their respective jurisdictions, the fee to be for the purpose of helping to defray the cost of keeping the records of such students and not to exceed forty-five dollars ($45.00) a quarter or seventy dollars ($70.00) a semester.
[Acts 1974, ch. 623, § 1; 1976, ch. 502, § 1; 1977, ch. 28, § 1; 1980, ch. 842, §§ 1, 2; T.C.A., § 49-3251; Acts 1997, ch. 360, § 1; 2002, ch. 788, § 6; 2006, ch. 913, § 1.]