How will budget cuts affect Columbus State University?

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  Georgia colleges and universities are facing cuts to the budget and schools all over the state could face up to $154 million in losses this year. Even though Columbus State University is starting class next week with less money, officials say it's a storm they've weathered before.

John Lester, CSU spokesperson, said, "It's a very frustrating process but we began this year with 23% less state resources than we began the fiscal year two years ago. This is something we've seen over and over again, unfortunately but it's something we've learned to deal with."

Columbus State University may be dealing with $1.3 million missing from this year's budget, but the school promises students won't feel the pinch.

"What we're doing is all behind the scenes. We're reducing part-time faculty, we've reduced supplies, had to reduce travel, we've had to reduce upgrades to facilities and equipment. That's stuff that's frustrating to us because we want to provide more, but it's not anything that will impact the educational experience our students will receive," Lester explained.

And students are hoping CSU keeps their promise. Brian Johnson is an incoming freshman at the school and tells News Leader 9, "I kind of expected, coming out of high school, some of these things would hit me due to the economic problems, but coming in, I'm kind of nervous, worried, but looking out for it."

Johnson says he thinks the state is making a big mistake by taking money from what he considers a deserving department, "To me, education is the most important thing, no matter what halts or complications come in life, anything is possible to overcome."

With class starting back next week, CSU's administration hopes these cuts don't worry those who are coming to college for the first time. Lester said, "We hope the budget news doesn't temper the excitement that we all have this time of year."

Columbus State says with this budget cut they do not plan for any lay-offs, furloughs or additional tuition hikes. They maintain, they've handled it before and they can handle it again this year.

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