Georgia Regents University sophomore Reggie Redd knows it could be worse.
When state officials announced a 3.5 percent tuition increase for GRU next year, the bump translated to $79 more a semester. His peers at Georgia Tech will see a 7 percent increase, or $270 more a semester, while University of Georgia undergraduates will pay an additional $191.
Still, Redd said he looks at that extra money as a whole paycheck from his part-time job or a few tanks of gas he’d use to commute from Evans to the Augusta campus.
As a student living at home to save money, Redd, 19, said every dollar counts.
“It’s going to be harder,” said the mathematics major. “We try to scrape up any pennies we can, so any increase in tuition hurts.”
Most undergraduates at GRU will pay $2,335 a semester in the fall after the University System of Georgia Board of Regents approved statewide tuition increases Tuesday, ranging from 2.5 percent to 7 percent among institutions. The incoming freshman class at GRU will enter with a base tuition of $2,559.
GRU plans to increase its tuition gradually every year for the incoming freshman classes, but each group will be grandfathered in to their entering rate for four years.
Any future tuition increases implemented by the state Board of Regents would be added to the base tuition rate.
David Mustard, a professor in the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia, said he predicts students will continue to see tuition increases in the near future as state financial support for higher education decreases.
With flat state revenues and increasing costs for things such as health care, states are being forced to cut one of their most expensive line items – education.
“You can’t cut the budget without cutting education to some degree,” Mustard said.
Despite the changes, tuition at GRU and at schools across Georgia remains some of the most affordable.
According to The College Board, the national average for tuition and fees per semester was $8,655 in fall 2012 and $7,504 in Georgia. Even with $700 in fees for undergrads and $900 for health sciences students, GRU prices remain far below the state and national average.
GRU Freshman Bryan Tector, 19, said even with a partial HOPE Scholarship, he pays about $1,000 out of pocket for tuition, books, fees and other costs.
It won’t stop him from pursuing an education, but it will make doing so more difficult.
“It’s just going to put me into more debt,” Tector said. “I just don’t get it.”