Augusta Tech plans to offset budget cut

Augusta Technical College and other members of the Technical College System of Georgia are preparing for the possible axing of another 3 percent from their budgets.

"There's been no official instruction to go with the 3 percent, nor would I venture to guess as to when it might be implemented," technical college system spokesman Mike Light wrote in an e-mail.

Augusta Tech President Terry Elam, though, said he hopes to stave off the effects of such a cut by growing enrollment and offsetting the loss with more tuition-paying students.

"We need to continue to grow because that's the only way to hold your own," Mr. Elam said Monday, adding that summer enrollment is up.

Mr. Light said that in recent months the technical college system has been cut 12 percent.

Augusta Tech had its funding slashed by $1.5 million, Mr. Elam said. That led to an increase in tuition from $36 to $40 per academic hour.

Those cuts also prompted a hiring freeze for state-funded positions. In the past six months, only critical hires, such as teachers, were made.

Mr. Elam said it's a matter of making do with less. For instance, the college's Augusta campus is down three custodians.

Augusta Tech also cut back on supplies and reduced the number of days classes are held. Students no longer attend class on Fridays, which has produced a significant savings, especially on water, he said.

Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or greg.gelpi@augustachronicle.com.