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Regents Set University System Tuition for 2004-2005

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New Rates Reflect Modest Rise, Maintains Georgia As Low-Tuition State

Atlanta — May 18, 2004

After final action by the Board of Regents on Wednesday, in-state undergraduate students attending Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia should plan to pay only $80 more per semester in tuition during the next academic year to attend these nationally recognized institutions – ranked 9th and 20th, respectively, among the top public universities in the country by U.S. News and World Report.

The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia’s Committee on Finance and Business Operations approved new tuition rates today that will hold the line on tuition increases to between $35 and $80 per semester. The full Board of Regents will take final action tomorrow (May 19), voting to increase undergraduate, resident tuition at the University System’s four research universities by $80 per semester (or $160 per year); tuition at the regional and state universities by $55 per semester (or $110 per year); and tuition at the two-year colleges by $35 per semester ($70 per year).

The modest $160 per-year increase in the USG’s “research university” tuition is in direct contrast to the double-digit “sticker shock” being experienced by college-going students attending “flagship universities” in other states around the nation. Proposed annual increases in resident undergraduate tuition and fees at other state flagship universities range from $209 at the University of Florida to $1,440 at the University of Texas at Austin. At the University of Kentucky, annual tuition increases range from $618 for freshmen and sophomores to $768 for juniors and seniors.

“The cost of a college education in Georgia continues to be a tremendous value,” said University System of Georgia Chancellor Thomas C. Meredith. “I am very pleased that the Board of Regents – in spite of the financial challenges the System faces – has maintained its commitment to keep college access affordable for our students. To be able to attend some of the best public universities nationally – institutions at the top end of the quality scale and at the low end on cost – is, without question, one of the best bargains available to Georgians. We hope more students will continue to take advantage of this opportunity!”

Vice Chancellor for Fiscal Affairs William R. Bowes made the presentation to the Board of Regents on the proposed new tuition and fees for the next academic year. In it, he noted the Regents’ history of maintaining low tuition rates to enhance access to higher education for the state’s citizens.

Bowes also cited a national survey of tuition and fees compiled by the Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board that found tuition at the University System’s research universities (UGA, Tech and Georgia State) ranked 35th nationally among the 50 states. This means that 34 states charged higher tuition than Georgia, and only 15 states charged less. Tuition rates at the USG’s two- and four-year institutions ranked 39th nationally in the survey. Bowes also reported that Georgia ranks 13th lowest for undergraduate tuition and fees charged among the 16 states that comprise the Southern Regional Education Board.

Consumer Digest recently reviewed 3,500 colleges and universities to rank the 75 “top values” institutions – defined as the institution’s academic quality balanced against the annual cost of tuition and room-and board. The University of Georgia ranked second among the 50 public institutions cited.

“Through the efforts of many, we must maintain a careful balance of access, affordability, and quality,” Meredith said. “The Regents are keenly aware of the financial pressures on individuals and families, which is why we are so committed to keeping costs as low as possible. With this goal in mind, our presidents worked hard with extremely tight budgets and fewer state resources to continue to lead institutions while minimizing the financial costs to our students. Their leadership deserves to be commended.”

Effective for the Fall 2004 semester, in-state undergraduates attending USG institutions will pay a 5 percent tuition increase, that will be reflected in the following new tuition rates:

  • At the two-year colleges, $734 per semester, an increase of $35;
  • At the regional and state universities, $1,161 per semester, an increase of $55; and
  • At the research universities, $1,684 per semester, an increase of $80.

Two special-mission USG institutions, Georgia College & State University and Southern Polytechnic State University, will continue to charge a differential undergraduate tuition. GC&SU’s new in-state, undergraduate tuition will be $1,567 per semester, an increase of $75; while SPSU’s will be $1,214 per semester, an increase of $58. Both new tuition rates also reflect a 5 percent increase.

The Board also will vote tomorrow to approve recommendations to maintain additional tuition differentials” that set out-of-state tuition at four times that of in-state tuition, graduate-student tuition at rates 20 percent higher than undergraduate tuition, and differential rates for graduate/professional programs and for non-resident students attending the System’s four research universities.

In addition to setting the Fiscal Year 2005 tuition rates, the board acted upon 58 mandatory student-fee requests from USG institutions to adjust athletic, student activity, health services and transportation or parking fees. Of the requests, 20 were recommended for approval as submitted, 27 were recommended at reduced levels, and 11 were not recommended for approval. Bowes said the recommendations would result in an overall fee increase of less than 4 percent. Decisions on fee recommendations were based upon the evaluation of critical needs, limiting new programs and participation by students in the fee process. In addition to addressing tuition and fees, the Finance and Business Operations Committee also approved the allocation of the USG’s $1.66 billion FY’05 state appropriation, presented by Senior Vice Chancellor for Academics and Fiscal Affairs Dr. Daniel S. Papp and Bowes.

The University System received significant support for the following new or continuing needs in the FY ‘05 Budget adopted by the General Assembly and approved by the Governor:

  • $108 million for enrollment growth;
  • $178 million for new campus facilities;
  • $55 million for the repair and renovation of aging facilities;
  • $18.8 million for faculty merit salary increases;
  • $3.5 million for Georgia Library Learning Online (GALILEO);
  • $8.59 million for programs and new facilities at the Georgia Public Library Service;
  • $1.97 million for the Intellectual Capital Partnership Program (ICAPPĀ®);
  • $1 million for the Georgia Tech Regional Engineering Program (GTREP); and
  • $5 million for a new research initiative at the Medical College of Georgia that will boost the state’s only public teaching hospital’s research and health-care efforts.

Included among the $178 million for new construction projects are funding for:

  • $26.5 million for a new social science building at Kennesaw State University;
  • $7.1 million for a student center at Georgia Perimeter College;
  • $16.3 million for campus utilities at Middle Georgia College;
  • $35 million for a visual and performing arts center at UGA;
  • $2 million to design a new nanotechnology center at Georgia Tech;
  • $10 million for the Animal Health Research Center at UGA; and
  • $90 million for 21 “minors” projects (construction at $5 million and under).

Papp noted that the budget allocations were made using the Board’s budget guidelines and allocations principles, which were developed in consultation with the System’s 34 presidents. In line with those guidelines, 80 percent of the $108 million for new enrollment was allocated as earned by the institutions, 15 percent was allocated to meet key strategic needs such as hiring faculty, and 5 percent was allocated based on institutions meeting established performance measures.

The budget guidelines emphasize first and foremost “protecting students in the classroom,” and focus resources on the University System’s core teaching mission, said Papp. A key principle states: “Given limited resources, it is imperative to find ways to shift more resources to the classroom to serve students and ‘Create A More Educated Georgia.’”

Papp cautioned that despite a strong state appropriation for FY’05, the dollars allocated to the University System this year by the General Assembly must be considered in an historical perspective.

“The fact is that in fall 2003, we were teaching 31,000 more students than we had in Fall 2001, with $87.8 million less in state funding,” Papp said. “This makes it more difficult for the University System’s presidents, faculty and staff to maintain high academic quality, having to serve significantly more students with considerably fewer resources.”

The University System’s state funding currently reflects $313 million in cumulative budget cuts to the operating budget since November 2001.

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