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Gainesville State gets favorable affordability ranking
'We have the lowest fee structure of all colleges in North Georgia,' Nesbitt says
Sophomore Summer Patton, 19, a pharmacy major, studies biology Monday inside the student center at Gainesville State College in Oakwood. According to the College Affordability and Transparency Center with the U.S. Department of Education, Gainesville State College has ranked as one of seven Georgia schools placed on a list of the nation’s most affordable colleges. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Gainesville State College tuition and fees, 2011-2012

Resident tuition: $93 per credit hour
Nonresident tuition: $342 per credit hour
Activity fee: $22 for up to six credit hours, $42 for seven credit hours and up
Technology fee: $35 for up to six credit hours, $50 for seven credit hours and up
Institutional fee: $200
Student center fee: $30
Parking deck fee: $35
Auto fee: $20

Source: Gainesville State College


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With decreasing coverage from the HOPE scholarship and increasing costs, students and parents are paying more and more attention to the affordability of attending college.

Seven Georgia schools, including Gainesville State College, made the national College Affordablity and Transparency Center's list of public four-year institutions with the lowest tuition.

"We want to be accessible and affordable," Gainesville State President Martha Nesbitt said. "We want to show that we offer the same quality of colleges a lot more expensive than us."

According to the list, which is based on data from the 2009-2010 school year, Gainesville State costs $2,448 per year, about $4,000 less than the national average. Other Georgia schools with tuition in the lowest 10 percent include Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, Macon State College, College of Coastal Georgia, Dalton State, Gordon College and Middle Georgia College.

"We have the lowest fee structure of all colleges in North Georgia," Nesbitt said.

Congress asked the U.S. Department of Education to create the list by July 1.

"If students are looking at attending a public college, this gives them an idea of where their costs fall," said Sara Gast, spokeswoman for the department. "There's more than just the sticker price of tuition."

Gast said there were several lists generated with the data from more than 6,000 schools included. The lists will be generated each year. They are broken down both by sectors and then by lowest tuition, highest tuition, lowest net price and highest net price.

Gast said there were also data collected on the colleges with the fastest growing tuition and fees.

In Georgia, these include Gwinnett Technical College, Chattahoochee Technical College, South Georgia Technical College, Albany Technical College, Central Georgia Technical College and Georgia Military College.

These all saw a 48-56 percent increase in tuition and fees during the period data was gathered.

Gainesville State's tuition and fees include student activities and a technology fee.

"The other fees are for student services, such as the game room in the student center," Nesbitt said. "The last thing we added was a parking deck fee."

Nesbitt said the 2011-2012 tuition and fees reflect a rise in the general institutional fee.

"The Board of Regents added that because our state funding was cut so badly," she said. "On the other fees, we haven't raised them in a couple of years. They'll probably see a rise every couple of years, but we try to not raise it drastically."


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