University System of Georgia students will have to dig deeper into their pockets for spring 2010 tuition, due to an eight percent budget cut announced by the Board of Regents on Tuesday.
The Board increased the existing six percent budget cut to eight percent because of the decline in tax collections from the state. This will double last year’s institutional fee of $100 that was implemented in Jan. 2009 at all 35 Georgia public colleges and universities. As of Jan. 2010, depending on the university, students will be paying up to $200 in institutional fees in addition to their tuition and other fees.
Valdosta State is one of the universities that have been hit with the $100 increase. The Board said the fee increase is a necessary part of the overall strategy for continued academic student excellence. The University System of Georgia is currently managing $410 million in state funding cuts that have added up from FY2009 and FY2010. The state implemented furlough days, cut employees, and eliminated positions in all possible ways. The Board says increasing the fee for Georgia students is a last resort to make up for lost funding.
April Carter, junior Biology major, believes that the University System isn’t the only one being affected by the economy.
“It’s not a good thing, because what about us? If the economy is so bad and everyone increases fees, how will that help us, because the economy is bad for us, too,” Carter said.
Another concern for students is the coverage of the institutional fee from HOPE. HOPE does not cover this fee or any other fees implemented by the Board of Regents after Jan. 2004. Without the coverage of the fee, students covered by the scholarship are left with additional expenses.
“The thing I hate most about it is that HOPE only covers up to a certain percent [of tuition], so that leaves me with like $500 that HOPE doesn’t cover. That’s not cool at all,” Matthew Harrell, senior history major, said.
The fee increase is spread evenly among all USG students. A general raise in tuition would be unsuccessful because of students on the Guaranteed Tuition Plan. This would have financially burdened new students and students enrolled before fall 2006 who are not part of the plan. The Board revised the plan to lower the impact on students as much as possible.
A moratorium has been set for the fiscal year 2011 that will prevent any more fee increases except in certain circumstances. These include fees for public/private venture projects, such as residence halls, student-financed recreation centers, and other facilities with a revenue stream.
The student share of the FY2010 cuts totals 14 percent, or $24 million. The other 86 percent, or $152 million, is being borne by USG institutions and employees.
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