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. Continue reading “That Tuition Increase and Other Riveting University System of Georgia News”

Rumor has it…

Multiple sources are suggesting that Attorney General Sam Olens will be named President of Kennesaw State University. Olens, who previously served as Cobb County Commission Chair, was elected Attorney General in the state-wide 2010 elections. He would replace Dr. Houston Davis, the chief academic officer for the University System of Georgia, who has served as Interim President since Dan Papp’s retirement in June.

Kennesaw State University has been in the news since the Fox 5 I-Team probe and the AJC reported that University System auditors uncovered numerous policy violations leading to Papp’s retirement and the dismissal of numerous high level administrators.

A government transparency advocate, General Olens rumored appointment would certainly restore credible leadership at the University founded in 1963 and boasting enrollment of more than 33,000 students.

While there are many names being mentioned to replace AG Olens, speculation puts Chris Carr, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, at the top of the list.

Rising Tuition Not Just A Georgia Problem

This week’s Courier Herald column:

One of the more interesting semi-public power plays during this year’s General Assembly has been between legislators and the Board of Regents. Georgia’s Constitution insulates the Board of Regents and thus the University System of Georgia from direct political influence. This is to keep the whims of modern politics from imposing undue influence of academics and admissions, which could ultimately jeopardize accreditation. The input legislators have over the system is usually limited to one line item in the state budget that funds the entire system, plus any specific projects that make the short list for funding through the state’s annual bond package.

There’s evidence that Legislators would like to exert more influence over the University system, especially with regards to rising tuition rates. Early in the session, Rep David Stover of Newnan filed a bill that would change the members of the Board of Regents from being appointees of the Governor to being elected. His reasoning included tuition increases at “more than twice the rate of inflation.”

House Whip Matt Ramsey from neighboring Peachtree City has filed a proposed constitutional amendment that would limit tuition increases to the rate of inflation. The actual power to set tuition under his bill would ultimately revert to the legislature’s Higher Education committees should a request for an increase more than the annual rate of inflation be requested by the Regents.

Both bills reflect a growing public frustration with the rising cost of higher ed. And it’s clear that the costs of a university education have been increasing faster than inflation for well over a decade. The problem with both bills is that they treat the State of Georgia’s schools as if they are in an isolated market. They are not. Continue reading “Rising Tuition Not Just A Georgia Problem”