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Monday, April 18, 2011 - 10:00am

Regents Set Tuition Tuesday

Tuition at Georgia's universities is on the agenda for Tuesday's Board of Regents meeting.

The University System of Georgia is looking at about 200 million dollars less in the state budget next year. And the system's chancellor has indicated a hike will be needed to offset some of that loss. This year, tuition increased by as much as 16 percent.

The state has traditionally paid 75 percent of the cost of students' education, but Board of Regents spokesman John Millsaps said that share is shrinking.

"What's happened with the budget reductions in the last few years is, because of the state's budget constraints, [the state] been unable to come up with the 75 percent," Millsaps said. "So right now that equation is about 55 percent state funding for the cost of instruction and now we're looking at about 45 percent coming up through tuition."

Millsaps says any tuition hike likely won't cover the entire gap, so universities will have to make cuts, too.

For students who get the HOPE scholarship, any hike will mean more money they have to pay out of their own pockets. Lawmakers adjusted the program so HOPE pays for 90 percent of tuition this year for most students.

Higher tuition will reduce that percentage.

"Certainly the Regents want to try to do something to keep that reimbursement as close to 90 percent as they can," Millsaps said.

He said board members are trying to maintain academic quality while still keeping tuition relatively affordable.