The news from the House-Senate budget committee for the Georgia General Assembly that a significant tuition increase is on the table puts students, the Institute and the entire University System in jeopardy. The current reasonable cost of tuition allows Tech to be competitive in retaining top young minds in the state of Georgia and brings in the best from across the nation, allowing the Institute to continue to soar even in times of economic hardship.
The most disturbing aspects coming out of the meeting are the calls by some state legislators, in particular Sen. Don Balfour, who claims that tuition hikes should not just be on the table, but should definantly be used, as current rates are embarrassing or that failure to do so would be a socialist prerogative.
Providing affordable, quality higher education to the people of Georgia should be a source of pride for the state, and the Senator’s comments are unfitting of a person elected to serve the people of this state. Such a deplorable lack of understanding of current and future constituents is the true embarrassment for the state and the people the assembly represents.
People should earn admission to the state’s public schools based on their academic merits, not the financial fortunes of their parents. Properly educating future engineers, teachers and civic leaders ensures the strength of the state and the nation as a whole. Higher education is no longer a luxury for the elite; it is a necessity for next generation to succeed.
The need of the legislature to balance the budget is not forgotten and a reasonable tuition increase may be needed, but it must be done sensibly and with regard to future generations. Unfortunately, because of the change in times, the majority of current legislators cannot fathom the burden they could potentially be dumping on students.