Overview: 2020 Fiscal Year Budget for Higher Education

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Governor Brian Kemp’s proposed 2020 budget of $2.58 billion for the university system and $373 million for technical colleges includes money for enrollment growth and merit pay, employee recruitment and retention. The proposed 2019 amended budget adds $35 million for an aviation academy at Chattahoochee Technical College and $3.6 million to meet the need in Georgia’s Dual Enrollment Program.

By the Numbers

Amended 2019 Fiscal Year Budget

  • Adds $35 million to the Technical College System of Georgia for an aviation academy at the Paulding Northwest Atlanta Airport (Chattahoochee Technical College)
  • Adds $10 million in tobacco settlement funds for pediatric and adult clinical radiation therapy renovation and expansion projects at the Augusta University Health System campus
  • Adds $3.6 million to the Georgia Student Finance Commission to meet the need in the Dual Enrollment Program

2020 Fiscal Year Budget

Funding for the university system’s operating budget is set to increase $147 million, or 6.1 percent, over the 2019 budget. Increases include:

  • $86 million for enrollment growth, operating costs and increased costs in graduate medical education
  • $48 million in merit-based pay increases, employee recruitment and retention
  • $1.3 million for agriculture faculty positions and cooperative extension service educator positions
  • $1.2 million for security and network and audio-video equipment at the Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center in Augusta
  • $312,302 for a $3,000 pay raise for elementary and secondary teachers at Georgia Military College’s Prep School

Total spending for the technical college system is proposed to increase $4 million, or 1 percent, over the 2019 budget. Changes include:

  • $5.9 million for merit-based pay, recruitment and retention
  • $2.1 million for enrollment growth and operating costs
  • Elimination of $3 million for marketing

The Georgia Student Finance Commission administers state funds for the REACH Georgia Scholarship and Dual Enrollment Program. Proposed changes include:

  • $5.1 million to cover the full cost of the REACH scholarship for all new recipients, including the portion previously raised by local school districts
  • $3.5 million to meet the need in the Dual Enrollment Program

Finally, the budget includes $209 million in bonds for new construction, major improvements and renovations within the university system and $106 million for technical colleges. Notable projects include a new Carroll County campus for West Georgia Technical College and a new convocation center for Georgia State University.

University System of Georgia

The proposed 2020 budget increase of $147 million for the university system is 6.1 percent higher than last year. Per-student funding continues to make modest gains. When the state keeps up its contribution of higher education costs, colleges and universities can more easily maintain their tuition and fees. Steady restoration of colleges’ budgets allowed the university system to keep tuition flat the last two out of three years. The university system serves an increasing number of high school students through dual enrollment. In 2018 about 12,000 high school students took college classes through the university system, up from 10,000 in 2016.

Technical College System of Georgia

The proposed 2020 budget for the technical college system is $373 million, a 1 percent increase from last year. Most of the budget, $332 million, goes to technical education. Most of the small budget increase comes from proposed merit pay increases for state employees. After several years of enrollment declines, technical colleges experienced a small enrollment and credit hour increase between 2017 and 2018. The Dual Enrollment Program had about 26,000 students in technical colleges in 2018, up from 17,000 students in 2016.

Dual Enrollment – Georgia Student Finance Commission

Dual Enrollment Program funding increased $3.5 million over last year to total $108 million. These funds are allocated to the Georgia Student Finance Commission which administers payments for high school students to colleges and universities. Dual Enrollment Program funding more than doubled from 2016 to 2019. The budget includes language to restrict the program, which is now open to all high school students, to 11th and 12th grade students only and to reduce the award amount to private colleges and universities.

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