Will Georgia colleges increase tuition in the fall?

Students at Georgia’s 26 public colleges and universities won’t be hit with a tuition increase this fall for the second year in a row.

The University System of Georgia Board of Regents voted Tuesday to hold the line on tuition during the 2021-22 school year. The vote marked the fourth time in the last six years the system has not increased tuition.

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic was a key factor in the decision not to raise tuition during the coming year, Tracey Cook, the system’s executive vice chancellor for strategy and fiscal affairs, told board members before Tuesday’s vote.

“Holding tuition flat … recognizes the financial hardships faced by many of our students and parents during the pandemic,” she said.

“USG over the past several years has remained committed to making public higher education as affordable as possible for students and their families, while maintaining results that rank our campuses among some of the best in the nation,” system Chancellor Steve Wrigley added. “We are grateful for the support of the board and state leaders toward this priority, and recognize students’ hard work especially over the past year to maintain success toward graduating and entering Georgia’s workforce with college degrees.”

Gov. Brian Kemp and the General Assembly did not restore the 10% budget cut the university system took last year during the early stages of the pandemic, Cook said. However, an influx of federal COVID-19 relief allowed the system to hold the line on tuition, she said.

The regents also voted not to raise either mandatory or elective student fees during the coming school year.

In other action, the board put its stamp of approval on the $2.46 billion system budget Georgia lawmakers adopted last month as part of the $27.2 billion fiscal 2022 state budget. Most of the 6.8% increase in the spending plan is to cover enrollment growth.

Wrigley said the $138 million increase in next year’s budget not only will keep tuition low but will allow the various campuses to invest in infrastructure needs.

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