Chancellor Hank Huckaby Explains Efforts to Reduce Higher Education Costs

University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby told a Wednesday lunchtime meeting of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce about efforts the Board of Regents are making to reduce expenses and make higher education more affordable for Georgia students. Huckaby told the audience that at the same time that he became Chancellor in 2011, the state’s colleges and universities were entering a “new normal,” a time when costs needed to be contained, and things had to be done differently. And five years later, he said, the new normal continues today, although some of the circumstances driving it continue to evolve.

The cost of a higher education is a big stumbling block today, Huckaby said, especially for non-traditional students. The Board of Regents does its best to keep tuition modest. And indeed, on a full time student equivalent basis, the cost per student, adjusted for inflation is approximately the same as it was in 1998. Yet the share of money needed from parents and students needed to pay for college continues to rise. While at one time, the 75% of the cost of a post-secondary education was paid for by the state, the state’s share is now below 50%.

According to Chancellor Huckaby, the Board of Regents is trying to control costs by offering more classes online. Five years ago, there were 1,571 courses available online. Now, the number is over 6,200. While in some cases, taking a given course online costs more than taking the same course on campus, there are efforts underway to reduce those costs and make online learning more affordable. Online or on campus, though the cost of textbooks continue to be a great expense for students. USG is working to reduce those costs through a multi-state effort to make materials online at a lower cost than traditional printed books. Huckaby estimates that this effort has saved $17 million across the system to date. Recognizing that fee increases had begun to grow out of hand, the Board of Regents began to “take a red pencil to most of those increases.”

In an effort to devote a higher percentage of its expenses towards teaching and less towards administration, the Board of Regents has been going through an effort to consolidate the number of colleges and universities in its system, most recently the merger of Georgia State University and Georgia Perimeter College. Currently, the Board of Regents is proceeding with the consolidation of Albany State University and Darton Colloge. Merging schools is more about being able to reduce redundant administrative departments, although it does make for difficult decisions deciding whom to keep and whom to let go.

The cost of higher education was a concern during the 2016 legislative session, where several bills were dropped as warning shots to the Board of Regents over education. With several prominent legislators, including Senate President Pro Tem David Shafer, House Higher Education Committee Chair Carl Rogers, and Senate Higher Education Committee Vice-Chair P.K. Martin in attendance, part of Huckaby’s message might bave been directed to them.

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The Dixie Cheetomonger
The Dixie Cheetomonger

The current crop of kids are lazier than the last. They need to be like everyone who came before them and just work their way through college.

UGA’s estimated cost of attendance is a small $25,134 a year. On a year round part-time at 20 hours a week, You’d have to earn $26.18 an hour (or $19.86 after tax) to cover those estimated costs. Which just goes to show that you don’t need a 4+ years of brainwashing by a left-wing milquetoast, if you’re going to be earning that much anyways.

John Konop
John Konop

…………The current crop of kids are lazier than the last. They need to be like everyone who came before them and just work their way through college………. My wife and I have a son in college, and daughter in high school, the amount of homework required, is way more than any of us did, when we were in school. As far as college cost verse wages, let me help you with the math. When I graduated from the UC ( public university) the cost of tuition and housing was around ( in-state) 3K, and average collage graduate salary was about… Read more »

The Dixie Cheetomonger
The Dixie Cheetomonger

I thought the part about someone needing to work 20 hours a week and making $26.18 an hour to pay for college was enough to illustrate the absurdity of the cost of higher education.

John Konop
John Konop

My Bad

The Dixie Cheetomonger
The Dixie Cheetomonger

No problem. I don’t know what colleges your kids were going to or plan to go to, but hopefully not art school. Rhode Island School of Design is $45,840 for tuition and fees only. Granted it’s a private school. But it’s not as though students are unable to get the loans.