Consensus: Tuition masked as fees

The Board of Regents recently imposed an increase of the Special Institutional Fee, better known as the Academic Excellence Fee, upon the universities in the University System of Georgia, including Tech. While this course of action is reasonable in these budgetary times, the methodology in which it was executed could prove to be problematic in the long term. The current format of many scholarships, including HOPE, and waivers for graduate provide no coverage for fees. The expansion in the SIF will be end up coming straight out of the students’ own pockets. The Board of Regents’ decision is an underhanded way of making up for the budget cuts in the form of a raise in tuition through fees, hurting the student body.
Given the questionable nature of the fee, it is necessary for the Institute to clarify the specific purposes of the fees imposed. The Board of Regents’ action is an attempt to increase fees but not tuition in order to keep the HOPE scholarship sustainable. While the graduate SGA audibly voiced their displeasure with the Board of Regents’ action, undergraduate SGA was disappointedly quiet about the issue. The increased fee is a collective liability that ultimately leaves the student body feeling powerless and, as a result, apathetic to the issues that affect them. Both branches of SGA must take a leading role in the opposition to any more increases to the SIF, as is their job as representatives of the student body.
The fees being charged at Tech are currently climbing into the top percentages of the Institute’s peer schools. This action by the Board of Regents will leave a negative impression on both the Institute and the University System as a whole from the perspective of prospective undergraduate and graduate students. Such taxing trends should be rolled back as soon as possible, and a more traditional structure should be reinstated when charging students.

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