Education Analyst Calls Bad Move on Georgia Board of Regents Tuition Increase Approval

As college seniors prepare to graduate next month, those heading back to the University System of Georgia’s colleges and universities will pay more in tuition.

This week the Board of Regents approved the tuition hike.

WABE’s Rose Scott reports how the increase could affect prospective students.

Broadcast version of this story.

It’s a not a popular trend, but for years, college tuition costs have been escalating.

According to the National Center for Educational statistics, between the 2001–02 school year and the 2011–12, school year; undergraduate tuition, room and board at public institutions rose 40 percent.

And a decline in funding from states like Georgia is not helping says Claire Suggs. –

“I think we’re seeing the increase in tuition because the state has disinvested in higher education for over a decade. The per student funding for the coming academic year, the year that will start this September, is about 52 percent lower than it was in 2001.”

Suggs is the senior education policy analyst for the Georgia Budget and Policy institute.

She adds the combined recent great recession and the decrease in state funding is creating hardships for those seeking a college degree.

“This does appear to be a continuing trend and a growing reliance on tuition and a growing shift from state funding for higher education to students and their families.”

While the Board of Regents cites the tuition increase is just 2.5 percent, Suggs says for some students additional funding resources just aren’t available.

“We know that low-income students are very sensitive to price increases and very concerned about how they are going to pay for that. And of course we don’t have a truly comprehensive state-wide need based financial aid program.”

And that means for some students, says Suggs, attending college may be placed on hold.

Georgia State’s tuition is increasing by four percent and Georgia Tech at nine.

According to the Board of Regents, the increase help retain top faculty, keep class sizes small and maintain the quality of research from schools like Georgia Tech and Georgia State.