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The House of Representatives
Is Apportioned Based On Enrollment

HouseFloorEvery college gets one seat in the TISL Senate, regardless of size, and seats in the 99-member House of Representatives are apportioned by college enrollment.

Every college has at least one seat in the House, and the maximum number of seats for each college is nine.

Seats are allocated by a custom-designed computer program that precisely implements the requirements of the House Apportionment Act of 2010.

Steps:

  1. Each college is assigned one seat to meet the mandatory minimum.
  2. Each college's enrollment is divided by its number of assigned seats (that's 1 in the first round); the result is its "representation ratio."
     
    Enrollment / Assigned Seats = Representation Ratio
     
  3. The college with the highest representation ratio is assigned another seat, and its representation ratio is recalculated.
  4. A different college now has the highest representation ratio.
  5. Steps 3-4 are repeated until the maximum number of seats (99) has been apportioned. It's a lot of arithmetic and sorting, but the computer does the hard part.

Bonus Seats

Unclaimed House seats are reallocated at the end of the first day of the General Assembly to avoid empty seats.

Sometimes colleges don't have enough representatives to fill their seats because of a cancellation or other absence. Other colleges have additional representatives available who shouldn't be expected to sit and watch while seats are empty.

Colleges are awarded bonus seats on the same basis as the original apportionment. Representation ratios are calculated and sorted beyond the original 99 seats. This is released in advance, and colleges know the likelihood of receiving a bonus seat. Several bonus seats are available every year.

The maximum of nine seats per college still applies, and the maximum bonus seats for each college is one.

FAQ

What is the source of the enrollment figures?

The Apportionment Act says apportionment is based on head-count enrollment from fall semester one year earlier as supplied by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. THEC provides TISL a spreadsheet each summer with enrollment numbers that are extracted from a national database.

When is the House apportioned?

The House is apportioned a few days after the Universal Deadline. Apportionment is typically announced about a week before the General Assembly.

Who oversees apportionment at the General Assembly?

The Speaker of the House, Speaker Pro Tem and Chief Clerk assign delegations to seats based on the computer-generated apportionment figures.

Where can I go with questions or problems?

The Speaker of the House, Speaker Pro Tem and Chief Clerk should be your first resources.

What if I'm still dissatisfied and think my college was the victim of an error?

As a last resort, you can file a lawsuit with the Tennessee Intercollegiate Supreme Court. Lawsuits can be filed 365 days per year. You don't have to wait until the General Assembly. The Court provides a form and further guidance on its website.

TISL is a non-partisan 501(c)(3) educational corporation chartered by the State of Tennessee.
©2006 et seq. Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature Foundation. All Rights Reserved.

The Numbers

Seats in House of Representatives: 99

Minimum seats for each college:

Maximum seats for each college: 9

Maximum bonus seats per college: 1

Sources

Article VII, Section 2 of the TISL Constitution sets out the broad parameters of apportionment.

The House Apportionment Act of 2010 specifies the apportionment process in detail.

Transparency

All of the numbers and calculations for apportioning the House are public documents. A complete report is released when apportionment is announced and is available at the General Assembly.

Download Apportionment Report

Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature TISLonline.org