AMERICUS — Georgia students will have to pay more out of pocket for college this fall after the state Board of Regents raised tuition Tuesday.
The board voted on tuition hikes between $31 and $218 more per semester.
“We’re hoping it won’t make that much difference to the individual, but it does help us as an institution when you put all of that together,” said Martha Nesbitt, Gainesville State College president.
Students at 32 of 35 university system campuses will see the lowest increase in nearly a decade — about 2.5 percent, or anywhere from $31 to $91 per semester.
Gainesville State’s tuition will increase $35 per semester, while North Georgia College & State University’s will increase $59.
“Actually, I’m very pleased that it’s a very low percent in terms of an increase,” Nesbitt said.
North Georgia deferred comments to the Board of Regents.
Those attending Georgia Tech, the University of Georgia and Georgia State University will see the biggest bumps, between $127 and $218 per semester.
The three schools have historically charged the same tuition rates, but system officials say the change puts the institutions more on par with peer schools in other states.
“This approach ensures each of the research institutions can fulfill their respective academic missions while being competitively priced with their peer institutions,” said John Brown, vice chancellor for fiscal affairs.
Payouts for most HOPE scholarship recipients remained flat this year, which means the vast majority of students will have to pay more of their tuition bills in the fall.
Last year, state lawmakers cut the lottery-funded scholarships for all but the highest-performing students.
In addition to tuition, students also pay hundreds each semester in mandatory fees, including a special fee created to help offset state funding cuts to higher education.
That fee ranges from $160 to $544 per semester, depending on the college.
University system employees had talked about doing away with the fee but officials told the board that the system can’t afford to lose the more than $200 million generated by fees.
“The board and I are very sensitive to the present economic realities facing our students and parents,” Chancellor Hank Huckaby said in a prepared statement. “We are thankful for the actions of the governor and the General Assembly of fully funding the formula. It allows us to take a very conservative approach to current tuition.”
The regents also approved the system’s $1.8 billion budget, which includes more than $70 million in state dollars to help deal with skyrocketing enrollment. It also includes $300 million in construction and renovation projects at campuses across the state.