ATLANTA - University System of Georgia (USG) students currently enrolled in the Board of Regents' guaranteed tuition plan will see no change in their tuition this coming fall, but the regents voted today to end the tuition guarantee for incoming freshmen, as part of board approval of an overall package of tuition and fees.
Fall 2009 freshmen students will pay tuition at the same per-credit-hour rate charged last year, but will be subject to future tuition increases. USG students who enrolled prior to the start of the guaranteed tuition plan in fall 2006 or who come off the guarantee this fall also will pay the fall 2008 per-credit-hour rate.
The regents set the full-time tuition rate at 15 credit hours instead of the current 12 hours, meaning that for the first time, students not on the guarantee would pay the per-credit-hour rate for all classes taken up to 15 credit hours. Students on the guaranteed tuition plan, which began in fall 2006, will not be affected by this change.
All students, regardless of whether or not they have the tuition guarantee, will pay a mandatory institutional fee to help offset budget reductions.
"We will honor the commitments that already have been made to those students in the guaranteed tuition plan and freeze the per credit hour tuition rate for new students," said USG Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr. "We want to do as much as feasible to help our students in tough times this year, provide our institutions with budget flexibility in future years and help us address our reduced budget picture for Fiscal Year 2010."
Students not on the guaranteed rates this fall will pay, per semester, $203 per credit hour at Georgia State University and the Medical College of Georgia, $130 per credit hour at the regional and state universities, $84 per credit hour at the state colleges and $77 per credit hour at the two-year colleges - the same rate as last year.
Also frozen for fall 2009 freshmen are tuition rates at Kennesaw State University, Georgia Southern University, University of West Georgia, and Valdosta State University at $134 per credit hour and at Georgia College & State University at $190 per credit hour and Southern Polytechnic State University at $146 per credit hour.
A new and different model will be effective at Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Georgia. Students who take six hours or less will pay a flat tuition of $1,800 per semester, and students taking in excess of six hours will pay a flat 15-hour tuition rate of $3,035. Students at these two institutions who are on the guarantee will not be affected by this change.
"The bulk of freshmen take more than 12 hours," said Usha Ramachandran, vice chancellor for Fiscal Affairs for the USG. "Sixty two percent of freshmen take 13 or more credit hours - and that rises to 88 percent at UGA and Tech. The intent of the change to a flat tuition rate of 15 hours at UGA and Tech is to encourage students to take these credits and graduate sooner."
The regents also approved a special institutional fee each semester of $100 at the research universities, as well as at Georgia Southern University, Valdosta State University, Georgia College and State University, Kennesaw State University, Southern Polytechnic State University, and University of West Georgia; $75 at the other state universities; and $50 at the state and two-year colleges.
The regents' actions on tuition support the board's approval today of a Fiscal Year 2010 budget of $2.17 billion, which includes federal stimulus funds of $92.6 million. The state appropriations include additions of $147.9 million and reductions of $275.5 million for a net reduction over the FY09 base budget of $127.7 million.
The additional funds include $79.4 million for increases in student enrollment. Also included is $65.3 million for institutional increases related to health insurance, retiree fringe benefits, annualization of partial year faculty and staff merit salary increases at the 35 institutions and for increased maintenance and operating costs for new facilities. The final $3.2 million is for other increases in employee salary and benefits.
The $65.3 million also includes $7.8 million for the continued expansion of medical education in the state. The new dollars will support the continuation of curriculum development and accreditation for the Medical College of Georgia's campus in Athens, and residency expansion in Albany, Athens and Savannah.
"While the board's basic priorities were preserved in the state appropriations, I remain deeply concerned about the challenges of meeting rising enrollment across the entire System with diminished resources," said Davis.
The General Assembly approved $369 million in capital construction for the System including:
$60 million for major repair and rehabilitation of existing facilities on all 35 campuses;
$11.9 million for equipment for new facilities at Gordon College, Georgia State University, Southern Polytechnic State University, and the University of Georgia;
$192.8 million for new construction at College of Coastal Georgia, Darton College, East Georgia College, Fort Valley State University, Georgia Gwinnett College, Georgia Highlands College, Georgia Institute of Technology, Gainesville State College, Kennesaw State University, Middle Georgia College, Macon State College, North Georgia College & State University, the University of Georgia and the UGA Griffin campus;
$16.5 million for design funds for projects at Armstrong Atlantic State University, Clayton State University, Georgia Perimeter College, Georgia Southern University, Georgia Southwestern State University, Medical College of Georgia, and the University of West Georgia;
$27.6 million for new construction for 19 projects in the Georgia Public Library Services; and
$60 million for other projects in both the University System and for the Georgia Research Alliance.
Board action on the Fiscal Year 2010 budget and allocations as well as facilities construction is dependent upon final approval of the state budget and bond package by Gov. Sonny Perdue.