With a $227 million decrease in the University System of Georgia’s (USG) budget, Tech students will see a $500 per semester increase in tuition starting with the Fall 2010 semester.
The tuition increase will offset $80 million, and reductions in USG’s 35 colleges and universities’ operating budgets will offset the remaining $147 million.
“I agree with the tuition increase because it is necessary to maintain the quality of education, which helps ensure grants and research funding will continue to come in,” said Keller Smith, a third-year CHBE major.
Tech is a top ten public university and a strong research institution with access to opportunities not available to other institutions, yet tuition is still relatively low compared to its peers. After the $1000 increase, tuition at Tech will still be either at or below tuition rates of its peer institutions.
“I also fault the Georgia State Legislature for cutting funding for education for the same reasons stated above. The increase for the Student Government Association (SGA) is a small price for the continuing support of student organizations,” Smith said.
Earlier this year, SGA passed a five dollar increase in the student activity fee with the Board of Regents’ approval, allowing student organizations to function normally without a budget hit.
“We do not take the impact of these decisions lightly. However, we still believe the value of a Georgia Tech education far outweighs the cost of attendance. Our Institute consistently produces some of the world’s highest-paid and most successful graduates. Without your support and hard work, Georgia Tech would not be the school it is today,” said a campuswide e-mail sent by SGA on May 25.
Budget reductions from the last fall and spring semesters saw furloughs, USG employee health care changes and the institutional mandatory fee increase. That reduction was $176 million compared to the new $227 million reduction, leading the Board of Regents to look for more effective reduction solutions for the growing problem.
“I’m not even willing to pay a penny more for tuition, and this is not the right time for an increase. I understand the difficulty, but it is part of [the job of the State Legislature and the Board of Regents] to manage things like this,” said Sho Kitamura, a second-year CE major and New York native.
“I see the same going on in New York, but the legislature is managing the educational stability. Recently, they even awarded more financial support to in-state students, so I see no reason why Georgia cannot maintain the same educational affordability. I don’t want education to be a luxury,” Kitamura said.
The Helping Outstanding People Educationally (HOPE)scholarship will cover the $500 tuition increase, putting a more obvious strain on out-of-state students who will now annually pay $18,000 more than in-state students in tuition. The Board of Regents stressed that the students who are under the Guaranteed Tuition Plan (also referred to as “fixed-for-four”) will continue to be covered, and the Board has called on research institutions like Tech to provide more need-based financial aid for students on Pell Grants.