On Tuesday, May 11, the Georgia Board of Regents approved a $500 tuition increase for all students, in-state and out-of-state, who attend a research university. The tuition increase will go into effect this coming fall semester. The HOPE Scholarship will cover the increase for students who are recipients of the scholarship, and it will not affect students on the fixed-for-four tuition schedule.
“Our current plans are to use the new tuition dollars to preserve and enhance our instructional and student-related activities, address critical academic issues such as the faculty-student ratio and the availability of course sections for our undergraduates, and continue to support the core mission of research,” said Institute President G.P. “Bud” Peterson in an email sent out to campus on the day following the vote by the Board.
“We [in SGA] are certainly not thrilled that students have to pay more money in tuition. We do understand that the state of Georgia is experiencing historic [tax revenue declines], so we just want to ensure that the quality of the education here at Georgia Tech is not affected as a result of that,” said Undergraduate Student Body President Corey T. Boone.
The tuition hike is in response to cuts in funding from the state to universities. As stated in Peterson’s letter, Tech has seen a $67.2 million decrease from the state over the past three fiscal years, which equals 23.8 percent. But Peterson also pointed out that tuition at Tech was below that of similar universities.
“This tuition increase will move us closer to the market value as determined by comparison with our peer institutions and will provide some limited flexibility in budgeting for Institute programs,” Peterson said.
Of the top 10 public schools as ranked by U.S. News and World Report, Tech has the third-lowest tuition and mandatory fee rates for the most recent estimates. Currently, a student entering Tech will pay $8,716 per year (two semesters) as a resident of Georgia and $26,926 as a non-resident. The average cost of tuition and mandatory fees for schools ranked in the top 10 is $9,260 for residents and $30,344 for non-residents.
“From a student’s perspective, I can say that I’m not necessarily clicking my heels that I’m paying tuition that is comparable to peer institutions. I think that Georgia Tech has always been a very unique institution, but I do recognize the fact that we are taking a global position …I do understand what [President Peterson] means when he says we are coming in line with our peer institutions, which is true,” Boone said.
The tuition hike comes after the implementation of furlough days for staff and faculty, the addition of an Academic Excellence Fee and staff and budget reductions across the Institute. The Board has not yet said if the number of furlough days will increase in the coming year.
During their May meeting, the Board also approved a $5 increase to the Student Activity Fee that will also take effect this coming fall semester. The Mandatory Student Activity Fee Committee suggested the increase because of greater demand from student organizations for money.
“Hopefully with the five dollar increase, we can help organizations that need the money that will impact the student experience, but I hope that our representations [in SGA] have no intention of using that five dollar increase as a way to rubber stamp everything that comes before them,” Boone said.