GRU says freshmen should avoid big increase



Incoming freshmen at Georgia Regents University are facing a 13 percent tuition increase as the university moves toward the same tuition level as other Georgia research universities, an official said.

The school had to work a little bit to make sure the same thing didn’t happen to its current freshman class.

The University System of Georgia Board of Regents voted this week to increase tuition at its universities and colleges. The four research universities will see varying increases, from 9 percent at Georgia Tech to 7 percent at the University of Georgia to 4 percent at GRU and Georgia State University. That increase, not the 13 percent increase, will apply at GRU to the former students of Augusta State University, Provost Gretchen Caughman said.

That is part of a promise to “hold harmless students who were enrolled at Augusta State University previously from the incremental increases that Georgia Regents University needed to make in our base tuition in order to get to the research university level,” she said. The increases will be spaced across a five-year period and this year’s increase is part of that. Former ASU students will see a 4 percent increase of $93, from $2,335 to $2,428 while incoming freshmen will see an increase of $334, from $2,559 to $2,893, or 13 percent.

The university system also included current freshmen in the higher rate, which was not what GRU asked for, Caughman said. The intent would be to have three rates on the Summerville campus, Caughman said.

“Our intent is to keep each entering cohort relatively held harmless with respect to these incremental increases,” she said. University officials confirmed later Wednesday that the system agreed. It will make it more complicated but the intent is “to still try to hold their higher education as affordable as possible,” she said.

The university system said raising tuition was a way to preserve a 50/50 balance between state funding and tuition in covering the cost of instruction but that was never the case at the (Georgia) Health Sciences campus, Caughman said.

“It certainly wasn’t possible for the former Georgia Health Sciences University, which as an academic health center has a small enrollment and always will due to the specialized nature of its programs while at the same time (having) the most expensive programs to deliver – medicine and dentistry,” Caughman said. Even with tuition increases, the university must continually look to philanthropy, scholarships and support from the health system to make up the difference, she said.

Officials approve tuition increases, with biggest changes at Georgia Tech, UGA