Chapter 838 of the Public Acts of 1972 authorized establishment of the State University and Community College System of Tennessee. The elements of the System included the state universities and state community colleges (which had been under the State Board of Education), the Tennessee Board of Regents, and the Chancellor. The new system of governance became effective on July 1, 1972.
Chapter 181 of the Public Acts of 1983 transferred the governance of the state technical institutes and area vocational-technical schools (now referred to as Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology) from the State Board of Education (State Board of Vocational Education) to the Tennessee Board of Regents. The transfer became effective on July 1, 1983. In 1994, the legislature changed the names of the area vocational-technical schools to state technology centers. In 2013, the legislature changed the name of the state technology centers to Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology.
The Tennessee Board of Regents and the Board of Trustees of The University of Tennessee System are coordinated by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. The Tennessee Higher Education Commission was created by the General Assembly in 1967 in order to achieve better coordination and unity in the programs of public higher education in Tennessee.