The Student Government Association’s resolution to recommend that the Fixed for Four Program be discontinued does little to benefit students across Georgia.
The Fixed for Four Program, which sets tuition rates for four years, was put in place to provide predictability for the University System of Georgia and the students attending its institutions. By averaging forecasted increases over a four-year period, students could avoid receiving a large, unexpected hike if the state suddenly experienced a budget shortfall.
Unfortunately, that is the exact situation that we now find ourselves in. Given the unexpected and temporary nature of the shortfall, however, a one-time mandatory fee is preferable to a permanent increase in tuition, which would be paid in large part by already scarce HOPE funds (thereby failing to solve the problem that prompted a hike in the first place). Further, discontinuing Fixed for Four provides no guarantee that no more mandatory fees could still be enacted.
SGA’s resolution does address some issues that are especially relevant to Tech, such as the upsurge in tuition that rising fifth-year students currently see. However, terminating Fixed for Four—which is a state-wide program—would not aid the thousands of students across the entire university system who have come to depend on it to plan ahead. Another solution that could accommodate Tech students who take time off to co-op or study abroad would be to base the program on number of semesters rather than years.
What’s worse, SGA passed this resolution without making a concerted effort to reach out to the student body and obtain its opinion. SGA could very well be advocating for the dissolution of a policy that its very constituents would like to keep in place. The resolution thus also serves as a signal that improved communication is needed to ensure that student interests and SGA actions are in sync.