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Regents Approve New Tuition Rates for Incoming Freshmen and $2.3 Billion Budget for USG

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Atlanta — April 15, 2008

Freshmen students arriving on the University System of Georgia’s (USG) 35 campuses this fall will do so under the governing Board of Regents’ guaranteed tuition plan, which fixes tuition at the same rate for four years. The regents approved new guaranteed tuition rates today as well as the allocation of a record $2.3 billion in state appropriations to the University System for Fiscal Year 2009.

In addition to setting new four-year tuition rates for the fall of 2008, the regents’ action means that students who first enrolled under the guaranteed tuition plan in both fall 2006 and fall 2007 will again see no change in tuition rates. Students who enrolled prior to fall 2006, as well as those enrolling this fall will see an increase necessary for the System to meet its 25 percent share of the cost of teaching in-state students. The state meets the remaining 75 percent of instructional costs.

The Fiscal Year 2009 budget approved today by the board reflects an increase in state appropriations from Fiscal Year 2008 of $165 million, or 7.7 percent. Most of the increase in state appropriations (70 percent) is driven by the increase in student enrollment as well as increased costs for health and retiree benefits and maintenance and operations costs for facilities.

Both the budget and tuition decisions reached by the regents were shaped by the board’s six-point strategic plan. A portion of the budget allocations to colleges and universities thus reflect the board’s commitment through investment to key programs designed to meet the plan’s goals such as improving retention and graduation rates, meeting increased enrollment, contributing to the state’s economic development, and strengthening undergraduate education.

“Our budget and policy decisions are being driven and shaped by our strategic plan,” said USG Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr. “It is clear that the extraordinary support of both Governor Sonny Perdue and the General Assembly is in part due to our setting clear goals for action and improvement in the System designed to benefit our students and the state, and we are deeply appreciative of that support.”

The regents’ actions came following a presentation on the budget by Interim Vice Chancellor for Fiscal Affairs Usha Ramachandran during the board’s meeting, held on the campus of Columbus State University, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

“The System’s tuition strategy supports the board’s strategic plan, which calls for us to maintain affordability and access to public higher education,” said Ramachandran.

Tuition rates for incoming freshmen in fall 2008 will be $2,428 per semester at the four research universities (Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia State University, the Medical College of Georgia and the University of Georgia), an increase of $180, or 8 percent from fall 2007; $1,549 per semester at the System’s four-year universities, up $115, or 8 percent from fall 2007, $997 per semester at the state colleges, up 6 percent or $59 from fall 2007, and $919 per semester at two-year colleges, an increase of $44, or 5 percent from the previous fall. These rates will remain constant for these freshmen through fall 2012.

Six of the USG’s four-year universities charge a tuition rate that reflects prior board actions to enhance the mission of these institutions. The guaranteed fall 2008 tuition rate for entering freshmen at Georgia Southern University, Kennesaw State University, the University of West Georgia, and Valdosta State University will be $1,598 per semester. Georgia College & State University’s fall 2008 guaranteed tuition rate for entering freshmen will be $2,273 per semester, and at Southern Polytechnic State University, the guaranteed tuition rate will be $1,751 per semester.

Students who first enrolled in the University System in fall 2006 will see no change in tuition, as part of the guaranteed tuition plan. These fixed rates are $1,946 per semester at research universities, $1,280 per semester at four-year universities, and $802 per semester at state- and two-year colleges. Students who enrolled in fall 2007 also will see no change in tuition rates, set at $2,248 per semester at research universities; $1,434 per semester at four-year universities; $936 at state colleges and $875 per semester at two-year colleges.

Tuition for students who enrolled in the System prior to the adoption of the guaranteed tuition plan will see an increase at the research universities of 6 percent from fall 2007 to fall 2008 to $2,167 per semester. The increase at four-year universities will be 5 percent, to $1,413 per semester; at state colleges 4.5 percent, to $928 per semester, and at two-year colleges 4 percent, to $868 per semester.

“Tuition at Georgia’s public colleges and universities continues to be among the lowest in the nation,” Ramachandran said. “According to our latest available data from the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), among the 16-member SREB states, tuition and fees in Georgia were the lowest at our four-year colleges and fourth from the lowest at two-year colleges. Our new tuition rates are designed to maintain low cost and affordability without sacrificing academic quality for our students.”

As part of the $2.3 billion Fiscal Year 2009 budget, the regents approved:

  • $7.16 million in new dollars to fund plans to expand physician education through the Medical College of Georgia;
  • $6.5 million in new dollars to assist the continued start-up of Georgia Gwinnett College;
  • $1 million in new funds for three new eminent scholars (two at Georgia Southern University and one at Kennesaw State University);
  • $49.97 million to provide an average 2.5 percent merit salary increase for faculty and staff;
  • An increase from the current fiscal year of $6.9 million in continuing special funding initiatives, totaling $53 million; and
  • $836,000 in additional funds for the Georgia Public Library System. Of the $114 million in new dollars for the USG budget generated by growth in the System under what is known as the “funding formula,” the regents approved $81.6 million in allocations that directly support the strategic plan’s six goals and will be transferred to campuses for their specific programs in the following areas:
  • $21.2 million for undergraduate education;
  • $24.7 million to create enrollment capacity;
  • 19.5 million for research and economic development;
  • 4.3 million for educational partnerships;
  • $792,000 for affordability; and
  • $11.1 million for best-in-class efficiencies. The University System also received $277.4 million from the General Assembly for new construction, equipment, and renovation work on the 35 campuses and the state’s public libraries. This total includes:
  • $15.6 million for equipment at facilities at Fort Valley State University, Kennesaw State University, Macon State College, Savannah State University, and the University of Georgia;
  • $157 million for new construction at Clayton State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia Southern University, Georgia State University/Georgia Perimeter College, Gordon State College, Medical College of Georgia, Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, Southern Polytechnic State University, University of West Georgia, and Valdosta State University;
  • $5.4 million in design funds for projects at Coastal Georgia Community College, East Georgia College, Gainesville State College and the University of Georgia;
  • $26.9 million for other projects at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, Georgia Tech, Macon State College, Medical College of Georgia, and the University of West Georgia;
  • $12.5 million for projects in the Georgia Public Libraries system; and
  • $60 million for major repair and renovation projects on all 35 campuses.
  • Board action on the Fiscal Year 2009 budget and allocations as well as facilities construction is dependent upon final approval of the state budget and bond package by Gov. Sonny Perdue.

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