The Governor’s request for another 3 percent budget cut will mean less money for Georgia’s technical colleges, forcing a 13 percent tuition increase for students and delivering another blow to the state’s economic future.
Beginning in January, a student taking a full 15-hour course load will see a $150 increase in tuition per semester. All students will pay a new $50 institutional fee and students taking online courses will pay another $50 fee. These increases will cause more hardship for students already struggling to pay tuition and fees. HOPE grants will only cover 71 percent of tuition, $911 out of the $1,275 in tuition per semester for full-time students. HOPE no longer covers mandatory fees.
An educated, well-trained workforce is critical to a strong economy. So increasing the financial burden on students, which makes a technical college education unaffordable for some, hurts Georgia’s economic prospects. Policymakers should instead take a balanced approach to the state’s budget problems that includes additional revenue, along with making sure that HOPE grants are a priority for limited HOPE dollars. This will help ensure Georgia has the workforce necessary for a growing economy.