Tuition may rise for new students

Georgia college students will get to keep their guaranteed tuition rate, but incoming students will get no such promise -- and all students will get socked with a fee to offset state budget cuts.

The University System of Georgia Board of Regents voted Tuesday to let those on the guaranteed tuition rate, known as "fixed for four," keep it, but it will not be extended to incoming freshman, the system said in a news release.

In an open letter to parents and students, Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr. said the university system had to overcome a $274 million cut in state funding for fiscal 2010, which begins July 1.

"The decisions that affect the cost of a student's education were difficult to make," Mr. Davis said. "I am aware, as are the members of the Board of Regents, of the hardships many families face in this economy."

Incoming freshman will pay the same tuition as the previous year but could face increases in the future, according to the news release.

For those not on a guaranteed plan, tuition at Augusta State University after the summer period will be $1,549 per semester for 12 credit hours, a rate of $130 per credit hour, according to the university system.

Students not guaranteed another rate at Medical College of Georgia will pay $203 per credit hour per semester, or $2,428 per 12-hour semester. Students at MCG and other research universities -- the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech and Georgia State University -- also will be assessed a $100 fee per semester.

Students at Augusta State will have to pay a $75 fee per semester.

The University of Georgia will have its own tuition policy for those not receiving the guaranteed rate. Students taking a full load of courses, now defined as 15 hours per semester, will pay a flat rate of $3,035 per semester next fiscal year. Students taking six hours or less will pay a flat rate of $1,800 per semester, according to the university system.

The board approved the tuition schedule Tuesday as part of an overall budget of $2.17 billion. It includes more than $92 million in funding from federal economic stimulus efforts.

Reach Tom Corwin at (706) 823-3213 or tom.corwin@augustachronicle.com.