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USG Freezes Tuition at Two-Year Colleges

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Adopts Modest Increases at Four-Year Institutions; Average Across-the-Board Increase Only 3.7 Percent

Atlanta — April 17, 2001

The University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents has established new differential tuition rates for the 2002 Fiscal Year (July 1, 2001 - June 30, 2002) that mark the fourth straight year of an increase under 5 percent. The regents also froze tuition at the System’s 15 two-year colleges for the upcoming fiscal year. Both actions reflect the regents’ commitment to maintaining affordable access to higher education for Georgians.

The board’s Committee on Finance and Business Operations, meeting as a Committee of the Whole, gave initial approval to the new tuition rates today. The final vote by the full board will be on Wednesday, April 18, during the regents meeting, currently being held on the campus of Georgia College & State University, in Milledgeville.

The board’s adoption of differential tuition rates is based partly on its year-long benchmarking study, which evaluated the University System and its 34 institutions against a selected number of national peer institutions in a number of different areas, including state appropriations and tuition revenue. These findings supported a tuition freeze at the two-year colleges. Undergraduate and graduate tuition increased a modest 3 percent at the regional and state universities, and by 5 percent at the System’s research universities. The combination of the freeze and the differential increases result in an overall 3.7 percent tuition increase.

“Attending Georgia’s public colleges and universities continues to be one of the best higher education deals in the nation,” said University System Chancellor Stephen R. Portch. “This board is committed to maintaining affordable access to high-quality, public higher education, and today’s action emphasizes that fact.”

Effective for the Fall 2001 semester, University System tuition rates for Georgia residents are:

  • At the 13 two-year colleges, undergraduate tuition will remain at $640 per semester, with no increase.
  • At the two regional universities and 13 state universities, undergraduate tuition will increase by only $28 per semester (or $56 per year) from the previous year, from $938 to $966.
  • Undergraduates attending the two state colleges will pay the two-year tuition rate for lower-division courses and the state colleges’ and universities’ rate for upper-division courses,
  • Undergraduate tuition at the four research universities will increase from $1,253 to $1,316 per semester, a $63 difference over last year (or $126 a year).
  • Undergraduates at Georgia College & State University will pay an additional $300 per semester above the 3 percent increase as part of a new board initiative to enhance the institution’s efforts to become Georgia’s public liberal arts university. This additional increase is supported by the university’s student body and will help lower the student-faculty ratio to reach that of the institution’s national peers.
  • The board, again based on its benchmarking data, now permits research universities to request that out-of-state tuition be moved to the level of peer or benchmark institutions. This year, the Georgia Institute of Technology has requested a $500 per semester increase in out-of-state tuition, or a $1,000 a year increase over the next two years.
  • According to board policy, higher tuition rates may be proposed for the System’s professional-level graduate programs, to align such programs with the midpoint of comparative programs nationally. Higher increases were proposed for three such University System of Georgia professional programs this year: the Master of Science in Building Construction and Integrated Facilities Management at Georgia Tech; the Pharmacy program at the University of Georgia; and Kennesaw State University’s Executive MBA program.

In addition, the board acted on 43 mandatory student fee requests to adjust athletic, student activity, health services and transportation or parking fees, of which the 18 were approved as submitted and 21 at reduced levels. Four requests were not approved. Campus committees with a minimum student body makeup of 50 percent review all mandatory student fee increase requests to the Board.

The board reduced the $300 per semester technology fee at Clayton College & State University to $38 and to $75 at Floyd College. These fees have been used to support the two institution’s Instructional Technology Project, which requires all students to lease a laptop computer from the school. The reduction was made possible due to a regents’ special budget request to the Governor and General Assembly that resulted in funding in the Fiscal Year 2002 budget to help cover costs for this project. All other technology fees approved last year were kept at the current level, pending further staff review.

The tuition and fee items were two of several on the Board of Regents’ Finance and Business Operations Committee agenda, which also included allocation of the System’s $1.77 billion Fiscal Year 2002 state appropriation to the System’s 34 institutions.

The budget for the next fiscal year reflects a $49.1 million increase (2.9 percent) over Fiscal Year 2001 appropriations, and includes support for the state public library system and the Governor’s Cancer Alliance. University System institutions will receive a total state appropriation of $1.49 billion, which includes a 4.5 percent merit salary increase for faculty and staff, the addition of a 1.7 percent “technology factor” into the funding base to create on-going support for the System’s growing technology efforts, and $34 million in new and continuing allocations for special funding initiatives.

FY2002 institutional budgets are based upon allocation principles that distribute enrollment-related formula funds with consideration to recent enrollment trends, key institutional and system priorities, and per full-time equivalent student costs (including the use of enhancement teams for higher-cost institutions).

But the current allocation principles contribute to what Portch called a “disconnect” between performance and quality improvements and the regents’ funding formula. During the presentation, Portch said as both the state and the board focus more on accountability, it would be “natural to move in a new direction regarding formula funding.”

The budget presentation was led by Chancellor Stephen R. Portch, accompanied by Senior Vice Chancellor for the Office of Academic and Fiscal Affairs Daniel S. Papp and Interim Vice Chancellor for Fiscal Affairs William R. Bowes.

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