Rep. Ramsey Proposes Tying Tuition Increases to Inflation

Majority Whip Matt Ramsey will introduce a bill and matching constitutional amendment that would limit increases in tuition and fees within the University System of Georgia to the rate of inflation. House Bill 977 and House Resolution 1326 should get their first readings in the House on Thursday.

The constitutional amendment authorizes the General Assembly to limit tuition and fee increases via the enabling legislation of HB 977. If approved, voters will be asked:

Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to authorize the General Assembly to prevent increases in tuition or fees at institutions of the University System of Georgia from exceeding the rate of inflation on an annual basis?

According to the legislation, the Georgia Student Finance Commission would determine the inflation rate to be used in setting the following academic year’s tuition in April. Average tuition and fees would be calculated separately for two-year and four-year institutions, and would not decrease in the case of an inflation rate less than zero. The enabling legislation also specifies that for any given year, the limit on tuition and fee increases could be waived by a majority vote of the Senate Higher Education Committee and the House Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee.

Some lawmakers have expressed frustration that they have no control over the University System’s finances, which are by and large determined by the Board of Regents. While some might argue this is a way for the General Assembly to assert some control, others might recall other attempts at price controls that led to unforeseen consequences.

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John Konop
John Konop

Good idea, I would add a 10 percent cut in adminstrative overhead. Also we could require using neighboring high schools for extra class rooms for night school, and joint enrollment if possible, before paying for more buildings. The counties could coordinate use of local high schools based on enrollment needs rather than driving to the campus for joint enrollment students. Also night schools closer to people in the community at the county high school for college classes,training…..would not only lower cost, but increase enrollment via easier access. We need to treat tax payer money and or tuition to make sure… Read more »

Saltycracker
Saltycracker

Why be so selective ? Add some taxes to that list, especially property taxes.

Charlie
Charlie

The State is out of the property tax business. For every person that runs around the Gold Dome screaming “local control”, there should be ten at their county commission and city council meetings asking where the money is actually being spent. Don’t ask the state legislature to do the work of your local citizenry.

Raleigh
Raleigh

Actually the state is not out of the property tax business. Beside the provisions in Title 48 Chapter 5 of the Georgia code which state law controls how “local” government tax last year I paid .05 mills to the state on my home and my rental property.

Saltycracker
Saltycracker

I am not a local control fundamentalist, while it is a preferred reset as would be consumption taxes and flat taxes. Property taxes are a legal drive by shooting based on subjective formulas. In this case I’d like to limit the bullets each local has.

Will Durant
Will Durant

If the State was truly out of the property tax business then it wouldn’t be mandating the allowed exemptions and easements to the locals.

Saltycracker
Saltycracker

Didn’t want to sidetracked into rebuttals but if you call it being out of local property taxes the state is far from being out of local financial demands. Our Superintendent keeps us posted on outside pressures:

State austerity budget cuts ($11 million)
Local fair share contribution ($36 million)
State health benefit plan costs increasing
State retirement benefits taking more of the budget
Unfunded mandates – transportation – buses
Classroom size mandates (exemptions requested)
Competitive pay in the metro

We do not operate in isolation…..

Will
Will

There’s one major—and fatal—issue with this proposal. Much of USG’s tuition increases correspondeded to decreases in state funding. Since 2008, the General Assembly has slashed its funding of state institutions. That is fine if you want higher education in Georgia to become quasi-private (like what happened at UVA). But I think we still envision our institutions as public with significant state funding. So let’s say this amendment is passed and tuition is tied to inflation. The universities wouldn’t have any way to recoup funding through tuition. There is a waiver provision in the supporting legislation, but this still leaves the… Read more »

gcp
gcp

FY 2016 state appropriations to university system approximately 1.987 billion. The legislature has done little to control costs except during recession years. We still have a defined benefit retirement for employees, million dollar university presidents, over 48 million for a new law school building for GSU, unnecessary administrative positions. The list goes on and on. HOPE gave universities flexibility (or some would say license) to spend freely because part of student tuition is a guaranteed payment to a university. Meanwhile, Ga. tuition increases over past ten years are some of the highest in the country. I like Ramsey’s bill but… Read more »

Will Durant
Will Durant

I agree completely that the HOPE has become a crutch to both the legislature and the Regents. I don’t know if this bill is the solution or not but something has to give. At UGA tuition and fees increased nearly 300% from 2000 to 2015 when inflation accounts for only 38% over the same period.