Editorial on Tuition

By Beheruz N. Sethna

May 26, 2005

College tuition at the University of West Georgia and within the University System of Georgia (USG) continues to provide an outstanding “return on investment” for the citizens of the west Georgia region and for all Georgians.

Tuition and fees at Georgia’s state universities (which includes UWG) rank 41st out of 46 states whose state universities are ranked annually by the Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board. This new ranking represents the increased affordability of Georgia’s public state universities since 2001-02, when tuition within this sector of USG institutions was the 39th lowest nationally of the 46 ranked states.

When the Board of Regents approved new tuition rates during its April board meeting, tuition increases for USG institutions were kept in the single digits for the 2005-2006 academic year.

USG students will experience tuition increases averaging 6.5 percent – 5 percent for students at two-year colleges and four-year state and regional universities, and 8 percent for students at research universities. The increase translates to an additional $37, $58 or $135 per semester during the coming year, depending on whether a student attends a two-year college, a four-year university or a research institution. So, UWG students will pay an additional $58 each semester.

The 6.5 percent average increase comes during a period when tuition increases nationally continue to soar. The median increase in the South last year reached 10.6 percent for four-year colleges and universities and 20 percent for two-year colleges.

The new tuition levels reflect a three-pronged tuition strategy put forward by the chancellor and senior USG officials for 2005-2006. The strategy focuses on generating revenue to increase the number of full-time faculty among all three sectors of the University System. In addition, the strategy includes:

  • Promoting admissions access and keeping tuition low to ensure affordability at the two-year colleges;
  • Helping the System’s regional and state universities remain competitive regionally; and
  • Fostering national competitiveness at the System’s four research universities.

During the 2005-2006 academic year, tuition will generate approximately a total of $43.6 million in revenue across the entire university system – based on actual enrollment – to meet these goals.

Given the excellent academic goals of UWG and the University System, we hope that students understand and support the need for modest tuition increases.