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Fixed for Four Continues: Regents Commit to Second Year of Guaranteed Tuition, Adopt Record Budget

Atlanta — May 2, 2007

The Board of Regents reaffirmed today a commitment made last year to provide a guaranteed tuition rate for incoming freshmen. Consequently, University System of Georgia sophomores will see no tuition increase in fall 2007. The board did approve new tuition rates for those students entering the System’s 35 institutions as freshmen this fall, as well as for those in their third year and beyond.

The tuition rates for freshmen factor in the requirement of the University System to provide approximately 25 percent of the cost of instruction over four years, with the state funding the remaining 75 percent. Those students not covered by the “fixed for four” plan will see modest tuition increases to meet this 25 percent requirement.

The board also approved a new tuition model that sets differential rates for some of the System’s comprehensive universities. These rates support the board’s strategic goal to direct students to high-quality institutions with a capacity for enrollment growth. Tuition at these institutions also is guaranteed for four years.

Finally, the board approved a budget containing a record $2.1 billion state appropriation, along with $276 million for construction and renovation of System facilities. The board also approved budget allocations to the System’s 35 degree-granting institutions and the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography. The board’s actions on the budget are subject to Gov. Sonny Perdue’s approval of the overall state budget.

“Our tuition and budget are driven by our policy objectives, which call for us to maintain affordability and access while providing predictability for students and parents,” said University System of Georgia Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr. in a presentation to the board on tuition and the Fiscal Year 2008 Budget. “Thanks to the support of Gov. Sonny Perdue and members of the General Assembly, we have the resources to meet these objectives and honor the pledge we made to our customers last year with the introduction of the innovative fixed-for-four plan.”

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 regional and state universities, and $802 per semester at two-year colleges.

Effective fall 2007, tuition for those students already enrolled in the System prior to fall 2006 will be $2,044 per semester at research universities, an increase of $134 over current rates; $1,344 per semester at regional and state universities, an increase of $76 from current rates; and $834 per semester at two-year colleges, an increase of $40.

Students entering University System institutions for the first time in fall 2007 will see a research university tuition rate of $2,248 per semester; tuition at regional and state universities will be $1,434 per semester, and the rate at two-year colleges will be $875 per semester. These rates are guaranteed for four years (three years at two-year colleges) and meet the estimated 25 percent share of instructional costs for that period.

As part of the board’s strategic thrust to focus future growth at those comprehensive universities with resources to provide additional student programming and course offerings, the fall 2007 tuition rate for entering students will be $1,479 per semester at Kennesaw State University, Georgia Southern University, the University of West Georgia, and Valdosta State University. These rates are guaranteed for four years. Also, there are currently some variations in tuition where institutions with special missions have different tuition rates than other institutions in that sector. These variations will continue.

The board also adopted a new rate for the System’s seven state colleges (two-year colleges offering a limited number of bachelor’s degrees). Students currently enrolled at these colleges will pay $888 per semester and students enrolling in fall 2007 will pay $936 per semester.

The board also approved fees for all institutions, including fee increases requested by 26 campuses. Fee increase requests from campuses must balance institutional needs against the cost of attendance and reflect cost increases, the expansion of existing services or the creation of new programs for students, fees for new or existing student-centered facilities and technology.

The board also approved today a Fiscal Year 2008 budget and allocations to the 35 institutions, based upon the final budget adopted by the General Assembly. The FY08 state appropriation to the University System is a record $2.1 billion, a 10.5 percent increase over FY07.

“I am pleased that the Governor and the General Assembly continue to support our efforts,” said Davis. “This is the largest increase in state funding for the University System in 12 years. Our quest to create a more educated Georgia has been robustly supported by our state funding partners.”

The FY08 Budget includes $75 million in funds to meet new enrollment growth in the System, a three percent merit salary increase, and dollars for a number of specific projects, including: $10 million for the continued start up costs at Georgia Gwinnett College and $7.8 million for expansion plans at the Medical College of Georgia, as well as funds for employee benefits and retirement plans ($9.4 million), the Agricultural Experiment Stations and Cooperative Extension Service ($1.5 million), the Georgia Cancer Coalition ($4.6 million), the UGA Griffin campus ($1.8 million), the Georgia Research Alliance ($10 million), and the Georgia Public Library Service ($1.3 million).

As the Board approved allocations to the public colleges and universities, Chief Operating Officer Rob Watts outlined how the dollars were distributed. Watts told the board that the driver for allocations is the new Strategic Plan, along with a revised allocation process for institutions that emphasizes greater accountability for institutional performance.

The budget allocations direct $47 million into efforts that target the board’s strategic priorities:

  • $3 million to renew excellence in undergraduate education with a focus on revising the System’s core curriculum and continuing efforts to improve System retention and graduation rates;
  • $26 million to boost the System’s enrollment capacity with funds targeted to meeting enrollment growth, hiring new faculty and expanding distance learning programs in education;
  • $9.4 million to boost the System’s contributions to Georgia’s economic growth with a focus on increasing the University Systems share of federal funding for research and meeting the state’s growing need for health professionals;
  • $2.2 million to fund partnerships with K-12 schools for three initiatives: STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), a project to improve student participation and performance in these areas, and Early College, a program that helps prepare promising students at risk in grades 8-14 for early entrance into college; and
  • $6 million to increase the efficiency of System operations.

The University System also received $276 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:

  • $170 million for equipment at facilities at Georgia College & State University, North Georgia College & State University, and the University of West Georgia and for six new projects at Fort Valley State University, Georgia Gwinnett College, Kennesaw State University, Macon State College, Savannah State University, and the University of Georgia, along with design funds for the Medical College of Georgia;
  • $20.3 million for construction of seven projects (projects each of $5 million and under) at Georgia State University, Macon State College, Southern Polytechnic State University, the University of Georgia’s Rock Eagle 4-H Camp, the University of West Georgia, and Valdosta State University;
  • $60 million for major repair and renovation projects at all 35 institutions. With the FY08 Budget, the Gov. recommended and the General Assembly adopted a plan to move funds for major repair and renovation from bond sales to cash over a four-year period. Thus, in addition to $42.5 million in bonds, the FY08 Budget includes $17.5 million in cash for repair and renovation as the initial year of this conversion.
  • Other significant investments totaling $30.9 million for projects to enhance research capabilities at Georgia Institute of Technology, the Oconee County Research Park, the Georgia Research Alliance, and the Traditional Industries Program; and to enhance Americans With Disabilities Act compliance at Georgia State University and
  • $12 million for construction projects at seven public libraries
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