The Union Recorder

April 17, 2014

Board of regents approves tuition increase

The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — Students entering Georgia College in the fall will see higher tuition, the result of a Board of Regents decision this week to increase instruction costs at system schools statewide.

Public colleges and universities in Georgia will charge students $32 to $270 more in tuition per semester starting in the fall under a budget plan approved Tuesday by the state Board of Regents.

Georgia College students will experience an increase as well, resulting in about $85 more per semester.

Regardless of the numbers, Georgia College is prepared to adhere to the decision.

“The setting of tuition rates is the responsibility of the Board of Regents, and Georgia College will do its part and comply with their policy,” said Brittiny Barber Johnson, manager of media relations at Georgia College.

The Board of Regents approved a 2.5 percent tuition increase at 27 institutions. The 2014-15 academic year will mark the third year in row tuition to attend the majority of the University System of Georgia's colleges and universities will increase.

The board also approved targeted increases at the system's four research universities. There will be a 9 percent tuition hike at Georgia Tech, a 7 percent increase at the University of Georgia, and 4 percent for Georgia State and Georgia Regents University.

Research universities such as Georgia College will have more of a cost increase than others.

In 2013, a student taking more than six hours of courses was charged a tuition rate of $3,317 per semester at GC. This rate increased to $3,400 in 2014 with a projected increase of $3,485 in 2015. The cost of attendance for an undergraduate student living on campus at Georgia College in the 2012-2013 school term was $23,094. The cost included tuition and fees, estimated books and supplies, room and board and living expenses. The cost increased to $23,752 for the 2013-2014 school year.

Proponents of the increase argue that higher tuition at the research universities helps support the retention of nationally recognized faculty, keeps classes small and maintains quality programming.

System officials contend the average tuition at Georgia state colleges and universities still is less than the average for surrounding states' colleges and universities.

The 2015 state budget approved by lawmakers and awaiting Gov. Nathan Deal's signature increased funding for the university system by approximately $55.9 million.

Chancellor Hank Huckaby said the University System is still struggling to keep up with soaring enrollment, higher health care premiums for employees and other costs after absorbing $1.4 billion in budget cuts in the past five years.

"We worked very hard to keep it at affordable levels," Huckabee said. "But we're nowhere close to where we were being funded five years ago."

The budget also increased stated funding for the HOPE scholarship program by around 3 percent.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.