How Students Will Be Impacted By Georgia’s Public Universities Tuition Increase

Since the Covid-19 pandemic, Americans have grappled with the unsettling effects of inflation month after month. Consumers are seeing an uptick in prices across the board. Now, adding to that already extensive list is the cost of tuition for in and out of state students in Georgia. 

The peach states’ public colleges and universities are set to implement tuition and fee increases for the upcoming academic year. Approved by the Board of Regents, the plan entails a 2.5% hike in tuition for most in-state students, while out-of-state students will face a 5% increase. Additionally, a new rate, set 2% higher than out-of-state tuition, will apply to students from other countries.

Chancellor Sonny Perdue commended the Board of Regents for maintaining flat tuition rates across most institutions in recent years. However, he emphasized the necessity of adjusting prices to cope with rising expenses, citing inflation affecting various aspects of university operations. 

“Anybody that goes to the grocery store and the gas pump or eats out, guess what’s happened? Everybody’s paying more and the inflation has taken over on our campuses as well, from salaries to food costs to virtually everything else,” Perdue said. “It’s just like our whole economy, just because you’re university doesn’t make you immune to economic trends of inflation, and that’s what’s happened.” 

Under the approved plan, an in-state University of Georgia student taking more than six credit hours can expect their tuition to rise from $4,895 to $5,017 per semester. Meanwhile, out-of-state students will see their tuition increase to $15,136, up from $14,415. A newly established category for students from other countries will be required to pay $15,424 per semester at UGA.

These adjustments, slated to take effect in the fall of 2024, also extend to online learners. In fact, eTuition rates will increase by 2.5% for most courses, accompanied by new fees for fully online students. These students will incur a fee equivalent to their institution’s technology fee plus half of the mandatory fees.

The university system’s Chief Fiscal Officer Tracey Cook highlighted a significant uptick in fully online student enrollment, with a staggering 91% increase observed between 2019 and 2022. 

“Less students paying these fees translates into less revenues to cover expenses, and these declining revenues are occurring while institutions are experiencing increasing costs,” Cook said. “Some of those costs include, again, increased wages, competition, rising food costs, fixed and escalating debt payments on our public/private venture projects.”

Despite the tuition and fee adjustments, the university system received a budget boost from lawmakers, with a $3.39 billion allocation approved for the upcoming fiscal year—a 6.4% increase compared to the previous year. Pending approval from Gov. Brian Kemp, this budget is poised to take effect on July 1.

As students and families cope with the financial implications of these increases, universities must execute complex balancing acts to try to sustain operations, uphold academic standards, while also ensuring accessibility for all students. 

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