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UNG to offer in-state tuition to border counties in Tennessee and North Carolina

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Students in Jackson, Swain, Graham, Cherokee, Clay, and Macon counties in North Carolina and Polk, Bradley, and Hamilton counties in Tennessee will be able to attend UNG using in-state tuition rates. UNG opened a campus in Blue Ridge in 2015 and is building a new stand-alone facility that will open in 2020 to expand enrollment opportunities. UNG also has campuses in Cumming, Dahlonega, Gainesville, and Oconee County.

The University of North Georgia (UNG) has received approval from the University System of Georgia (USG) to grant out-of-state tuition waivers for students from a handful of counties in North Carolina and Tennessee that border UNG's current service area.

Students in Jackson, Swain, Graham, Cherokee, Clay, and Macon counties in North Carolina and Polk, Bradley, and Hamilton counties in Tennessee will be able to attend UNG using in-state tuition rates. UNG becomes the 11th USG institution to offer waivers for counties in the states that border Georgia.  UNG opened a campus in Blue Ridge in 2014 and is building a new stand-alone facility that will open in 2020 to expand enrollment opportunities.  UNG also has campuses in Cumming, Dahlonega, Gainesville, and Oconee County.

The move supports UNG's mission to expand educational opportunities in the region through broad access to comprehensive academic and co-curricular programs, and UNG President Bonita Jacobs said the waivers will open doors for students as well as their families and communities.

"UNG plays a large role in educational attainment in this region, and, from an economic and workforce development perspective, these counties are connected to communities that we currently serve," Jacobs said. “Out-of-state tuition waivers in these nine counties will allow UNG to expand opportunities for quality, affordable education and enhance regional economic development in the Appalachian region."

The theme of educational attainment tied to economic development is not new for UNG. The university launched the Regional Education and Economic Development (REED) Initiative in 2013. Dr. Chaudron Gille, interim provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at UNG, said the initial REED listening sessions showed how strongly community leaders want educational and workforce opportunities that help local students stay in the area.

"During the listening sessions, community leaders shared with us their great desire for education and job opportunities in their communities," Gille said. "They also expressed the concern that students have the opportunity to earn a degree and remain in the area to contribute to the community's economic development."

For first-generation students, staying close to home makes the college experience more affordable and less stressful and can even change attitudes about the attainability of higher education, Gille said.

"You break that barrier for one first-generation college student and it shifts the thinking across a community," Gille said. "Doors are opened for the first person, who influences their family and their community to think about going to college and completing a degree."

Out-of-state students in UNG's Corps of Cadets already receive tuition waivers, and the new waivers for these border counties expand opportunities for other students from the same families and schools to also attend UNG, said Keith Antonia, associate vice president for military programs.  UNG is one of only six senior military colleges in the nation and federally designated as The Military College of Georgia. Participation in UNG’s Corps of Cadets is limited to the Dahlonega Campus.

Dr. James Conneely, vice president of student affairs at UNG, said the tuition waiver become effective with summer semester 2019, and students in the waiver counties can begin applying now to UNG for summer and fall semesters.

UNG consistently earns national recognition from Forbes, Kiplinger, and U.S. News & World Report for academic excellence and affordability and offers more than 100 programs of study ranging from certificate and associate degrees to professional doctoral programs.

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