Colleges Face Tuition Spikes
(AJC) — Tuition increases have become a spring ritual for Georgia’s colleges and this year they’re as dreaded as pollen. Heightened attention from students, parents and lawmakers can be traced to the recent overhaul of the HOPE scholarship. For 18 years, the award covered all tuition for students with 3.0 GPAs, but the scholarships for fall will be reduced for all but the very brightest. That’s left some students and parents, who will be paying the difference, more worried than usual about tuition hikes. For their part, lawmakers are bristling over their lack of control over tuition. They will conduct hearings this year on a proposed constitutional amendment to limit the Board of Regents’ power to set tuition. Tuition, they say, should increase little or none this fall, when HOPE will cover 90 percent of tuition for about 90 percent of qualifying students. But that’s unlikely. The chancellor and the regents, who are scheduled to vote on fall tuition later this month, have warned of possible double-digit increases at some campuses. That won’t happen until the Legislature approves the university system’s 2012 allocation, which is forecast to drop from about $1.95 billion to $1.74 billion. State budget cuts will have a greater effect on tuition than changes to HOPE, Regents Chairman Willis Potts said. Less than a third of the system’s nearly 311,000 students get HOPE scholarships, but the system lost about $1 billion in state funding in the last decade.