That Tuition Increase and Other Riveting University System of Georgia News

In case you were working on an end-of-semester project, sleeping off a hangover, or just disconnected from all things public college in this state, tuition is going to go up 2 percent for the 2017-2018 academic year. That should work out to between $27 and $98 per semester for full-time, in-state undergraduates, depending on the college or university.

Don’t worry, exactly zero dollars and zero cents will be added to my salary (or almost any other professor’s salary) from this increase!

The Chancellor and the Board of Regents have to say things like “we thank the General Assembly that we were graciously allowed to raise costs,” and probably it’s not smart for an untenured, assistant professor (who is a librarian, nonetheless) to point out reality, but as costs to educate increase, our funding has to come from somewhere, and it’s almost assuredly not going to come from state appropriations.

A December 2016 state audit found that funding from the state has decreased $1,288 ($2,448 when adjusted for inflation) per student over the past ten years, while costs have increased in the neighborhood of $6,430 per student over that same time period. Put another way, state appropriations funded $2.2 billion of the University System of Georgia’s $8 billion budget this academic year. That leaves a very large gap, which nowadays comes from tuition increases, student fees, and fundraising.

Meanwhile, the Board of Regents is investigating those student fees. (Seriously, why are commuter students required to have meal plans?) Beginning in Fall 2017, there will be only 12 student fees approved for USG institutions. Further, online education credit hour fees are either dropping or are remaining steady across the system. Next, the Board of Regents will be auditing the administrations of its institutions for additional cost-saving measures. We’re not done with the school consolidations, either, as Georgia Southern and Armstrong State are the next to merge (which might be more contentious than the Georgia Health Sciences-Augusta State merger). All of this adds up to USG institutions costing about a quarter less than their peer institutions in other states. Go us.

Last but not least, we have a new chancellor for academic affairs, which basically covers everything but the kitchen sink. His name is Tristan Denley, and we stole him from Tennessee.

Author: Holly Croft

Holly is an archivist at one of Georgia's institutions of higher learning. In a past life, she was a legislative assistant on Capitol Hill. She cares a lot about records management, open records laws, and privacy laws. Political persuasion? It's complicated. What's not complicated is that she's proudly equal parts Bulldog and Tar Heel.

11 thoughts on “That Tuition Increase and Other Riveting University System of Georgia News”

  1. Thanks for posting Holly. We and many others have been hollering about tuition increasing faster than inflation for a while. We have the responsibility to note that the USG has taken this criticism seriously, and for the past several years have brought annual increases back in line with inflation.

        1. 1. I think it did, but it may have been more than a decade ago. The Clark Street entrance is about to undergo a remodel, but that’s more of an Advancement project, though Nancy and I are certainly working with the exhibits.

          2. Librarians only get raises when state employees get raises because we are state employees.

          3. I actually meant for materials. Electronic resources are more expensive than books. Of course, the students want electronic resources (who doesn’t?).

    1. From the article I linked:

      “An effective decrease in state funding per student of $2,448, adjusted for inflation, as state appropriations failed to keep up with increasing student enrollment.”

      When I calculated the hard number (not adjusted for inflation), it was $1,288. I’m not great at math, but I thought I had it correct.

      1. I think more so than that, Universities have started competing with themselves. Who can have the nicest stadium, student center, dorms, dining halls? And this has led to greater expenses incurring when revenue has increased per student. Higher education also doesn’t use the same inflation rate as the rest of the country. They give professors a 5% raise, magically, that’s the higher ed inflation rate. Lastly, even though schools are receiving less per student, it doesn’t cost that difference to educate. A 300 person lecture hall is a big money maker for colleges and will go toward that model more and more. Regardless, the current increases in educational spending along with student debt make this an unsustainable system. With more information being available on the internet everyday, there will be greater competition to educate the workforce and the system we have been accustomed to will change. I think the current generation being born today will have a completely different higher educational system in 18-20 years.

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