Regents warn rising fifth-years: no fixed tuition rate

The Board of Regents is reminding Tech students who entered in 2006 that their fixed tuition rate will end in 2010. This class is the first group to be included in the new program that locks new students entering at four-year universities to a set tuition rate.

John Millsaps, associate vice chancellor for Media and Publications at the Board of Regents, said that the only reason there is a focus on the 2006 group is because they are the first people to be enrolled under this tuition guarantee program.

The fixed tuition rate is only guaranteed for four years, so if a student takes over four years to graduate, they will have to pay a different tuition rate in their fifth year.

This new tuition rate will most likely be much higher than what they’ve been paying over the last four years. Anderson Smith, provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs, said that the tuition rates increase by about four percent annually.

Therefore, the fifth-year tuition amount will increase approximately 20 percent. According to Smith, nothing can really be done about the tuition increases, as general costs in the economy continue to rise.

There is increased economic strain on Tech with the recent announcement of budget cuts.

“We are not going to meet our budget,” Smith said. Smith also explained that Tech plans on beefing up financial aid to help counteract the rising tuition costs.

However, Smith reiterated that despite these conditions, the fixed tuition program will continue. There have always been discussions about the affordability of a university education. Many students, especially those from out of state, graduate from Tech with debt from college loans.

“Let’s do what we can to make college more affordable,” Smith said, when describing the first discussions of a fixed tuition program.

The fixed tuition program gives students and parents the ability to plan out their expenses for their child’s education at Tech. There are other financial aid programs at Tech developed to help those students in financial need.

The G. Wayne Clough Tech Promise program picks up where HOPE or other financial aid options leave off. It covers all Tech expenses for any student whose family has an annual income of less than $33,000.

“Tech has always been sensitive to the affordability of tuition,” saSmith said.