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Regents hold tuition increase at same level

Students in classroom

The University System of Georgia Board of Regents is holding the line on tuition increases, keeping the percentage increase at the same level as it approved last year. Today the governing body approved a tuition increase of just 2.5 percent for in-state, undergraduate students at 27 University System of Georgia colleges and universities.

When approved last year, this percentage increase was the lowest in a decade. Likewise, students attending the University of Georgia and Georgia State University will see the same percentage increase as in 2012, of 5 and 3.5 percent respectively. Students at Georgia Tech will see a 7 percent increase in tuition this fall, while those attending Georgia Regents University will see a 3.5 percent increase.

The dollar increase in tuition will range from a low of $32 to a high of $270 per semester.

“In determining tuition rates for the upcoming academic year, affordability was the regents’ primary concern,” said John Brown, vice chancellor for Fiscal Affairs, in presenting the tuition strategy to the Board during its meeting in Savannah. “Our ability to maintain a low percentage increase reflects a serious commitment by the Board to minimize the financial impact on our students.”

For the University of North Georgia, the 2013-2014 in-state tuition rate for students in four-year degree programs will be $2,487 for 15 or more hours or $165.90 per credit hour up to 15 hours. For students enrolled in two-year undergraduate degree programs, the in-state tuition rate will be $1,459 for 15 or more credit hours or $97.27 per credit hour for up to 15 hours.

The higher percentage increases for the four research universities reflect the regents’ goal of keeping these institutions competitive on a national level by ensuring they have the resources required to offer high-quality programs. Georgia is one of only five states with two or more institutions in U.S. News & World Report’s current rankings of the top 25 public universities; Georgia Tech at 7th and UGA at 23rd.

“The Board is extremely concerned about the cost of college and ensuring Georgians have access to our institutions,” said Chancellor Hank Huckaby. “In addition, as we work to achieve our ambitious Complete College Georgia goals of an additional 250,000 college graduates, we must do everything possible to ensure that the cost to attend college is not a barrier. This small increase helps students and parents financially while ensuring we can continue to provide a quality college education.”

The tuition rates approved today by the regents maintain the current tuition balance of state funding covering 50 percent of the cost of instruction and tuition the remaining 50 percent, said Brown. “The 2.5 percent increase also keeps pace with the 2.2 percent inflation rate,” he said.

The small percentage increase was made possible, Huckaby said, because of the strong budget support provided to the USG by Gov. Nathan Deal and the General Assembly in the fiscal year 2014 budget. “We received $63 million in new formula funds to support our enrollment growth,” said Huckaby “This is critical to our efforts to minimize tuition increases for students and we appreciate the support.”

Sixteen USG institutions submitted to the regents 32 mandatory student fee requests for approval. The Board approved 25 of the 32 mandatory student fee requests. Brown said that fee requests from institutions are carefully reviewed, limiting increases to those that demonstrate a clear business need.

The regents also approved a University System FY14 budget totaling $1.883 billion in state appropriations, a net increase in state funding of $54.6 million, or 2.98 percent after formula increases and a three percent mandated reduction.

As part of this budget, the General Assembly approved funds to support the System’s efforts in meeting some key state needs, including $5 million to support Georgia Health Sciences University’s efforts to boost cancer research and $2.075 million to expand residency slots statewide for physician training.

The USG’s FY14 budget also includes construction projects funded by the state. The $315.1 million capital budget provides funding for equipment for new buildings, construction and maintenance, repair and renovation (MRR) of existing buildings.

Seven new facilities will receive $24.9 million for equipment; four major construction projects total $133.6 million in funding; eighteen smaller projects will be built for $61.9 million; other projects and MRR will receive $86.1 million and the Georgia Public Libraries will receive $8.5 million.

The University of North Georgia is slated to receive $1 million to fund the renovation of three science labs on the Gainesville campus.

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