The news about further cuts in the budget comes as little surprise when examining recent trends. The cuts seem justified considering the revenue short-falls Georgia continues to experience. The administration at Tech thus far has handled the situation admirably, and while the cuts will not come without some hardship for students, faculty and staff, the confidence in the administration being able to properly manage these difficulties is unwavering. But the administration must also be diligent to ensure that higher education becomes the first agency to have its funding restored once the economy turns around.
The budget cuts also offer an opportunity for Tech to use its innovative nature to find new sources of funding and streamline opportunities to gain maximum output. The Institute will emerge from this time of budgetary constraints leaner and more efficient than ever before. Tech should also leverage its position within the technology community to seek out new funds, especially considering the new push on the federal level to fund innovation to help spur growth in the economy.
The administration must be cautious about pursuing and implementing a unilateral tuition increase. While the costs associated with educating students at Tech is generally higher than at any other university within the State of Georgia, the Institute risks alienating students and lawmakers if it tries to raise tuition above the level that other research universities are currently set. Students may be reluctant to attend Tech if other schools of the same classification in the state offer lower tuition prices, and state lawmakers may balk at giving the Institute more funding when the financial situation turns around if Tech shows a willingness to make up for short falls on its own. A tuition increase may be needed, but it should be done on a system-wide basis.