Students learn to cope with increased tuition rates, fees

As the world turns the United States eclipses into the shadow of an economic recession. Times are tough for government and industry, but what does this mean for students at Tech?
The falling budgets of the state juxtapose the rising cost of school. Earlier this year financial reforms split the HOPE Scholarship into two. The Zell Miller Scholarship, requiring a GPA of at least 3.3, pays 100 percent of tuition while the HOPE Scholarship, requiring a GPA between 3.0 and 3.3, covers slightly less than 90 percent of tuition.
Meanwhile, tuition itself has increased and the Special Institution Fee has increased by $350 per semester.
Along with increases in tuition, mandatory student fees have been increasing steadily over the past three years. At the present time, the average in-state Tech undergrad is paying 25% more for a technology-based degree than in 2009.
In light of the ongoing recession, how have Tech students been affected?
“I am twenty credits away from graduating but I had to take a year off to become an in-state resident because of costs,” said David Wu, a fifth-year ME major.
Almost 60 percent of Tech students are in-state and rely on the HOPE scholarship to continue their education, and currently over 11,000 students get financial assistance from the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid (OSFA).
The state legislature made cuts to HOPE in response to an increasing lack of funds from the state lottery. Both Tech and the state of Georgia had to make compromises in response to this situation.
Though Tech has not officially cancelled any event because of lack of funding, a majority of departments have less money overall, restricting the amount of activities, events and resources available for students.
However, the most visible expenditure of funds has been on construction. Recently steam lines, water pipes, and electrical wiring have been replaced in several areas, most notably on Freshman Hill.
Old infrastructure and buildings have been updated to meet standards and replace
“I think the updates to existing buildings were necessary,” said Julia Lundrigan, a fifth-year AE major. “But if they raise state-wide tuition they should not have decreased HOPE.”
HOPE no longer offers a book award for purchasing textbooks. This book award used to give up to $150 in addition to the scholarship.
To compensate for an increased cost of attendance, students are looking towards alternatives elsewhere to save when possible.
“I did not buy a meal plan this year. It was too expensive. Instead I buy groceries and cook all my own food,” said Andrew Varghese, a second-year BME major.
Off-campus and Greek housing are comparably cheaper compared to on-campus apartments, and their meal plans often cost less as well.
However, there are some students who are not too bothered by the changes.
“As an out-of-state student, an extra hundred dollars or so in fees does not mean much in comparison to what I already pay,” said Ian Keith, a fourth-year ME major.
Though the cost of attendance will continue to rise, Tech will continue to grow and invest in the future. Institute President G.P. “Bud” Peterson’s Strategic Plan is still underway and the Institute can look forward to continued construction projects in the near future.
At the present time, there are no current plans to stop any major financial initiatives or projects on campus.


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