Regents set to add student fee

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ATLANTA --- Regents are set to approve a plan today that would increase student fees and force employees to pay more for health insurance as Georgia's budget crisis deepens.

The proposal would place a fee of $50 a semester on students at two-year and four-year colleges, $75 at most four-year universities and $100 at the state's four research institutions -- the University of Georgia, the Medical College of Georgia, Georgia Tech and Georgia State. It also calls for University System of Georgia employees to pay for 30 percent of the cost of their health care plans, up from 25 percent.

Both changes would take effect Jan. 1. Employees would be allowed a new open enrollment period to change their coverage.

Regents approved the outline of the plan in August as a way to deal with budget cuts if they climbed as high as 8 percent. With state tax revenue figures still bleak, most economists and observers expect the cuts to reach at least 8 percent and potentially 10 percent or more.

"The priority has clearly been that if we go to a higher level of cuts, we're trying as much as possible now to protect that core instruction mission," said John Millsaps, a spokesman for the university system. "So the only way to do that at this point ... is to take action that doesn't really directly impact that classroom."

Senate Higher Education Committee Chairman Seth Harp, R-Midland, said the changes likely won't be enough to balance the system's budget.

"If our budget projections hold true, we're going to have a shortfall ... so there's going to have to be a lot more things happening," Mr. Harp said.

While some universities might consider layoffs, Augusta State hasn't reached that point, President William A. Bloodworth Jr. said Tuesday. But the university is making other adjustments to offset an 8 percent cut in state funding.

ASU had planned to add positions to meet the needs of its growing student body, Dr. Bloodworth said. Instead, the university has $1.5 million in positions unfilled. Teaching positions that are being filled are often being filled with part-time professors, something he says ASU can't afford to do permanently.

The university is also cleaning its offices half as often, he said.

Staff Writer Greg Gelpi contributed to this report.

Reach Brandon Larrabee at (678) 977-3709 or brandon.larrabee@morris.com.

WHAT THE FEE DOES

The fee allows the regents to increase the amount students have to pay for an education without breaking the "Fixed for Four" tuition guarantee the system offers most students. The increase won't be covered by the HOPE Scholarship's fee allowance, capped by the Legislature in 2004.

PER-SEMESTER FEE

INSTITUTION
Two-year college $50
Four-year college $50
Four-year university $75
Research institutions* $100

* University of Georgia, Medical College of Georgia, Georgia Tech and Georgia State

WHAT'S NEXT: The regents will vote today on the plan; if approved, the changes will take effect Jan. 1.


-- Morris News Service

Comments (11) Add comment
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disssman
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disssman 12/03/08 - 09:51 am
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Percents, percents, percents

Percents, percents, percents are meaningless without the other component of the equation which is cost, What is the average cost to the University system employees? In the future A.C, please aska question when doing an interview or better yet if the story was faxed to the paper then just say it up front.

ugascrapper
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ugascrapper 12/03/08 - 11:08 am
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Has anyone considered that

Has anyone considered that this student fee increase will actually affect taxpayers, too? Many students are under HOPE or other scholarship programs and student fees are covered by these assistance plans. Also, how much does it cost to re-open the enrollment for the health insurance change? Hmmmmm...

chopchic
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chopchic 12/03/08 - 12:44 pm
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I don't think HOPE will cover

I don't think HOPE will cover this new fee since it doesn't qualify as "tuition" !

palomino9
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palomino9 12/03/08 - 01:07 pm
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wow, I already owe thousands

wow, I already owe thousands in student loans, and because of the mismanagement of the repubs, I now have to pay more, thanks GW

jajo1012
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jajo1012 12/03/08 - 01:42 pm
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Great! So now my FEES are

Great! So now my FEES are going from $1200 to $1400 per year. And that doesn't EVEN include TUITION, mind you!

This is bull. Get it together, Regents!

jajo1012
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jajo1012 12/03/08 - 01:44 pm
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ALSO... If the Board just

ALSO... If the Board just terminated the massive printing allowance ($25-50) it gives each student each semester at every school, then maybe it could start saving some money. And, OH YEAH, that's eco-friendly.

justthefacts
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justthefacts 12/03/08 - 02:30 pm
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talk about wasting a waste of

talk about wasting a waste of 2 grand....

widowjones
0
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widowjones 12/03/08 - 03:20 pm
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Augusta State should have

Augusta State should have become a feeder college like USC Aiken, rather than pushing to become a stand-alone university. The pressures are totally different when you are preparing students to enter upper division classes and/or graduate work. Oh, well, too late, but I notice that this report mainly talks about the problems, but offers no clear solutions.

However, in another article on ASU, several people commented on improving customer service at the financial aid office and other places that deal with the public. This is a definite need, but sometimes the problem is stressed out people to begin with. And cutbacks mean more stress and less customer service.

BCG
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BCG 12/03/08 - 03:37 pm
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For those of you who think

For those of you who think Hope is the greatest thing going... IT is for the kids who work hard to get it and keep it, The Hope is not charity. But HOPE is for tution ONLY no fees so taxpayers will not be footing that bill... we the parents or the children themselves will.

rainingoranges
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rainingoranges 12/03/08 - 05:13 pm
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A $75 dollar student fee is

A $75 dollar student fee is nothing. Most colleges have it. Suck it up and pay it if you want a degree from ASU. ASU is pretty cheap, especially if you didn't do well enough in high school to qualify for a full scholarship at a better school.

corgimom
32125
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corgimom 12/03/08 - 08:34 pm
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A college education from ASU

A college education from ASU is a bargain. Raise the fee.

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