The state of Georgia covers 54% of the cost of a school student\’s education. A decade ago this figure was 75%. This fact partially explains why the costs to the student and their families have increased and why graduates are emerging laden down with debt. Another part of the explanation is what they\’re paying for.
Although most of them don\’t know what it\’s for, Georgia\’s university students are paying a \”special institutional fee\” that may exceed $1,000 annually.
The fee was supposed to end come july 1st, but University System Chancellor Hank Huckaby told the AJC last week that it will continue next year and probably beyond. The reason: It earns $210 million annually.
President Obama has declared he wants everyone to obtain a college degree. The main question is how individuals are going to afford it. While state subsidy for undergraduate education is falling, expenses are increasing to some projected $7 billion this year and not likely to slow down. During the last seven years the price of tuition to the student has nearly doubled.
It is commonplace in Georgia for moms and dads to take out loans to cover the cost of their children\’s education.
For their part, college presidents said they\’ve increased class sizes, reduced the number of course sections offered, eliminated open positions and held off on maintenance and new technology to soak up cuts in state spending. They observe that they\’ve made these cuts while teaching record numbers of students.
While the acrimonious debate on attribution of blame for rising costs continues between your legislators, who say that the University System spending is out of control, and the administrators who decry large cuts to their state funding, the students are undoubtedly the ones paying the cost. Of great interest are the salaries from the increasing number of administrators within the Georgia University system.
While the majority of the system\’s 42,000 employees haven\’t received an increase since soon after the start of the truly amazing Recession, the AJC discovered that top administrators are getting top pay. UGA President Michael Adams, for example, saw his pay package jump $50,000, to $660,318, this school year. Two other presidents – Albany State\’s Everette Freeman and Fort Valley State\’s Larry Rivers – also got raises to ensure that their total compensation increased from $198,456 to $225,000.
Many are hopeful that new University System Chancellor, Hank Huckaby can attain his stated goal of moderating the rate of cost increases. A significant cause of expense in the past has been campus construction and Huckaby wants to slow this. He\’s also already announced intends to merge eight colleges into four.