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Students brace for fee jump

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One of the biggest lessons that Augusta State University freshman Erika James learned this year was that education comes at a price.

ASU students hang out in the Student Activities Center between final exams. Student fees, which will increase $100 in the fall, pay for the use of the Student Activities Center.   Zach Boyden-Holmes/Staff
Zach Boyden-Holmes/Staff
ASU students hang out in the Student Activities Center between final exams. Student fees, which will increase $100 in the fall, pay for the use of the Student Activities Center.

Beginning in the fall, tuition will rise 3 percent and fees will go up by $100 because of a statewide increase approved by the Georgia Board of Regents on April 19.

"I'm mad I have to pay even more because I make good grades, and I go to a school that shouldn't even be that expensive," James said.

The increase means $51 more per semester in tuition for a full-time, in-state student, totaling $1,716. Out of seven fees that ASU students pay, however, only the institutional fee will increase -- from $150 to $250.

The institutional fee is a charge to students created by the Board of Regents a few years ago to help compensate for the state's education debt, according to Therese Rosier, the university's vice president for business operations.

"It's a way to offset money that the state is not providing to higher education institutions, and the hope was for this fee to eventually decrease and go away," Rosier said.

Instead of being phased out statewide, the institution fee has increased because of dwindling money for state education. The increase also comes at a time when ASU will introduce a $115 fee per semester to fund a wellness center at the west campus housing area near Damascus Road.

The fee was approved by the Student Government Association after it received 362 signatures supporting it, Rosier said.

Despite the changes, ASU still ranks as one of the least expensive schools in the state.

Larger universities, such as the University of Georgia, are being hit harder, with full-time students set to pay $3,641 per semester in tuition and $1,095 in fees this fall.

"It could be a lot worse," Rosier said. "I'm sure no one is happy when you have to pay more. I'm not happy when I open my Comcast bill and it's more. Unfortunately, that's the state of the economy right now."

The trouble is that the tuition and fee increases come on top of cuts made to the state's HOPE Scholarship program in February.

The scholarship used to pay full tuition, books and fees for students with at least a 3.0 GPA, but now it will cover only 90 percent of tuition and provide no funding for books or fees.

"With losing HOPE, it's really frustrating because now it's like, OK, half the money I make this summer working will go toward books," said James, a middle-grade education major.

To prepare students for the increases, said Dr. Joyce Jones, the dean of students, the school sent e-mails and a letter to students outlining the changes.

With fall charges due by the end of July, Joyce said, students are concerned about how to pay for books and extra charges they are used to having covered by HOPE.

"I will say I've heard more and more from parents and students that they don't want to take out loans because by the end of the four to six years they could get out of school owing a lot of money," Joyce said.

Despite the changes, some students say they understand that with the changing economy, people seeking an education have to expect more charges.

Fees are in place to provide services to students, which many take advantage of, said Almard Smith, a psychology and criminal justice junior.

"They're basically meeting students' wants and needs with the fees, and at the same time you're getting a good education," Smith said. "Look at the times we're in. Everything has to go up."

A closer look at ASU fees

What do you get for the fees? A breakdown of the $670 in fees paid each semester by ASU students beginning this fall:

INSTITUTIONAL: $250, state-mandated charge to compensate for state education debt

TRANSPORTATION: $35, covers campus shuttle service and provides free access to city buses for students

ATHLETIC: $130, covers anything to do with athletics from sports drinks to sports fields. Also covers the use of intramural fields, team uniforms, sports teams traveling, sports advertising, lodging, etc.

TECHNOLOGY: $45, covers any kind of technology on campus. Includes the 24-hour computer labs, overhead projectors, scanners, printers, copiers, computers, etc.

STUDENT CENTER: $45, voted on by students around 2002 as a 30-year fee commitment. It is a fee to fund the construction of the student center on campus.

STUDENT SERVICES: $50, applies to all 68 ASU clubs and organizations. Also covers any on-campus activities such as grill-outs, art shows, etc.

WEST CAMPUS: $115, contributes to the construction of a student life/wellness center at the new student housing complex near Damascus Road.

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Taylor B
5
Points
Taylor B 04/30/11 - 11:03 am
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Im betting the 362 students

Im betting the 362 students signing the "wellness" center petition arent paying that $115 a semester... But now my wife does. The cost of tuition is rising because of all the extra crap kids want now. This is why I havent gone back, just give me a teacher, a room, and a parking lot!

resident
483
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resident 04/30/11 - 03:26 pm
0
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Yet another way for the BOARD

Yet another way for the BOARD of DO NOTHING REGENTS TO EXTORT MONEY. This is absurd for this to be happening. They do not have enough money to pay for their expensive toys now and other overinflated salaries but you do not see them cutting spending, instead what you see in increased spending and increased fees for everything. It is not the state of the economy it is the society of entitlements. I know they pay the professors well and what makes me very angry is the fact that classes are constantly cancelled or when a student asks for tutoring or assistance when they do not understand the one sided teaching approach of some proifessors that they are told NO I AM TOO BUSY. I even find it difficult to swallow the fact that they have untrained or improperly trained so called student advisors that are nothing more than students themselves guiding new Freshmen into too hard or too many classes to generate revenue knowing they will most likely fail the class the first time.
This system is awful and needs to be reviewed and regulated by the taxpayer/parents and not a bunch of covering each others paycheck overpaid so called BOARD OF REGENTS that probably can't hack or get a real job.

MD2013
101
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MD2013 04/30/11 - 03:36 pm
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Medical school tuition, here

Medical school tuition, here at MCG, has gone up over $10,000/year in the last 3 years. If you want to write an article about something, write one on medical student debt, and how charging an additional $40,000, on top of the $150,000 in debt that most students already have, is absolutely ridiculous. I wonder why no one wants to go into primary care....

cristinadh
6
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cristinadh 04/30/11 - 05:04 pm
0
0
All of those useless extra

All of those useless extra fees..

class1
299
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class1 04/30/11 - 05:52 pm
0
0
Take out a student loan like

Take out a student loan like most students across the country have to do to get that college education. Nothing is free in life!

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