Tuition increases, most dramatically at research institutions, are happening nationwide due to budget cuts by the state.
According to The Associated Press, average in-state tuition and fees at four- year public colleges rose 8.3 percent this semester, or $631 in comparison to last year.
The cost of a full tuition load totals to more than $8,000.The government helps families through federal grants and tax credits.The Director of Financial Aid, Doug Tanner, provided more in depth information about the tuition increases here at VSU.
“Our tuition and fees have been going up on average of about 5 percent a year over the last few years,” Tanner said. “That doesn’t include additional charges like the institutional fee that’s been added over the last three years. That started at $200 a semester and is now up to $295 per semester.”
In the past, according to Tanner, most public schools like VSU have received their funding from the state, but now we are receiving less than half of our funding from the state. He said there was no way to cut fees unless the funds from the state get reinstated.
“It’s difficult to do away with a fee or for tuition to go down,” Tanner said. “Some private school tuitions have been going down, but they had large tuitions to start with and some of them could afford to cut fees.”
According to Tanner tuition increased by a little lower than four percent this past year.
The increases for next year won’t be calculated until the spring.
Despite this, tuition increases will not affect rising juniors and seniors, who are protected under the state’s fixed-for-four program.
This program guaranteed students the same tuition for four years. Unfortunately, this program was ended last spring by the Board of Regents.
In addition to tuition increases, HOPE scholarship underwent changes as well.
In April, the HOPE scholarship received cuts in funding from both the state budget and lack of revenue to cover demands.
With the latest HOPE bill, a student must still maintain a 3.0 GPA, but the scholarship will pay only 90 percent of tuition. The award amount for HOPE is determined using the previous academic year’s tuition payments.
“We are already struggling to pay what we are now,” Maya Kellam, a senior journalism major and The Spectator reporter, said. “So how do they expect us to pay this increase?”
A new scholarship also came into effect with the changes made to HOPE. Named the Zell Miller Scholarship after the former governor who was the founder of the program, the scholarship will pay the difference between what is paid for by the HOPE scholarship and the full tuition for a semester.