As state cuts its college investment, campuses turn to students. Is there a breaking point?

The state is investing less and less in college educations. (AJC/file photo)

The state is investing less and less in college educations. (AJC/file photo)

The Sunday AJC contains several great education stories, some of which will not appear online as the stories are subscriber only. One of the Sunday stories that is online delves into the rising costs of public colleges and the concomitant rising student debt.

This is the line that I suspect will provoke the most debate: A decade ago, the state paid 75 percent of the cost of educating a student. Today it covers 54 percent, with students and their parents picking up most of the rest.

The retort that I expect is that students and parents should be responsible for all the costs, and that it shouldn’t fall to the state to pay the bills for students.

But state governments have long taken the position that underwriting college educations is a potent investment and a proven route to a stronger economy. A better educated workforce attracts jobs and leads to a higher tax base, lower health costs, less crime and more civility.

Here is an excerpt of the story by AJC reporters Laura Diamond and James Salzer:

Although most of them don’t know what it’s for, Georgia’s college students are paying a “special institutional fee” that can exceed $1,000 a year.  The fee was supposed to end this summer, but University System Chancellor Hank Huckaby told the AJC last week that it will continue next year and probably beyond. The reason: It brings in $210 million a year.

The story of the special institutional fee is the continuing story of the University System of Georgia: The economy may be in a downturn, but the state’s colleges are on an upswing, and students are paying for much of it.  Spending has gone from $5.4 billion in 2007 to a projected $7 billion this year, and is expected to continue to climb next year. Tuition and fees at many schools have doubled since the fall of 2005, hitting close to $10,000 a year at the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech.

Since taking office in July, Huckaby has been seeking ways to control spending amid cuts to the HOPE scholarship, an outcry from students that they can no longer afford a college education, and open frustration voiced by lawmakers.  Those same lawmakers, who have griped for years about excessive college spending, are nonetheless set to increase University System funding by $120 million and double what the state borrows for campus construction.

For their part, college presidents said they have increased class sizes, reduced the number of course sections offered, eliminated open positions and held off on maintenance and new technology to absorb cuts in state spending. They note that they’ve made these cuts while teaching record numbers of students.

A decade ago, the state paid 75 percent of the cost of educating a student. Today it covers 54 percent, with students and their parents picking up most of the rest. Even Huckaby concedes that the task of controlling costs in the sometimes unruly University System — 35 schools, 318,000 students and 42,000 employees — is enormous.  “I think costs will go up,” he said. “I think what we are trying to do our very best is moderate the rate of increase.”

Even as legislators have publicly criticized spending by the University System, the system has publicly complained about deep cuts by the Legislature. While overall university spending has gone up, state support has dropped from $2.1 billion in 2008 to $1.7 billion this year. It will increase to more than $1.8 billion under the budget being considered by lawmakers. Many states continue to slash college funding. In Florida, for instance, the Legislature has agreed to cut the state’s support for higher ed by $300 million.

But not in Georgia. Here, lawmakers are debating whether to add $120 million to next year’s higher ed budget, largely to pay for growth in enrollment. That increase, if enacted, still won’t necessarily keep the system from raising tuition and some fees.

The “special institutional fee,” which was approved during the recession to help make up for budget cuts, was supposed to end this year. Huckaby said it won’t, although the Board of Regents eventually would like to do away with it. The fee has skyrocketed. Georgia Tech students paid $100 a semester in January 2009. Now they pay $544 a semester. The problem, Huckaby said, is that the system can’t give up the millions the fee brings in.

“We can’t afford to take a $210 million hit right now,” he said. “The ultimate goal would be to eliminate that or come close to eliminating that.”

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

72 comments Add your comment

td

March 11th, 2012
11:33 am

I would much rather our government continue to put our resources into college but it appears we can not do it any longer. The people of the state are can not afford any more taxes and even with the economy improving and increased revenue coming in there will have to be other cuts due to increased demand for our resources. Obamacare in going to cost the state an additional $2 billion dollars per year to cover in Medicaid all the so called poor people that are able bodied but are to poor to afford insurance on their own. This $2 billion should be going to higher education but instead are going to be spent on the people that do not value education.

College Professor

March 11th, 2012
11:40 am

The line that I found the most telling concerned the tremendous increase in the number of deans and vice presidents, most of whom do absolutely nothing of value. I submit that at least 30% of all college administrators are totally superfluous. They could easily be eliminated, and their absence at the next meeting would not even be noticed by the other administrators attending it. How many millions of dollars could be saved by eliminating these useless, worthless positions and the offices and programs they run?

A second line that caught my attention was the reference to college presidents teaching more classes. College presidents do not teach. Like all other administrators, they waste time at meetings, inventing more meaningless, time-consuming work for the faculty who do all the teaching. So in addition to not getting a pay raise in years, college faculty have seen their teaching loads and their work loads increase substantially over the past few years while at the same time we are expected to do more for individual students. The mantra in college education in Georgia today is for faculty to do more with less, while administrators do less with more. For students and faculty, it’s an intolerable, insufferable situation that makes academic excellence, intellectual and scholarly pursuits, and creativity impossible.

teacher for life

March 11th, 2012
11:42 am

As the republicans move to greater control in Georgia and possibly a super majority, expect more cuts in education. What has been a crisis in Georgia of inability of the legislature to accomplish anything will turn into a crisis of incompetence and the war of education will be the first battlefield.

Homeschooler

March 11th, 2012
11:44 am

It seems I keep running into young adults who have enormous student debt. These people are paying off student loans in the amounts of 35-80,000 dollars and making 30,000 per year. They will never get out of debt. There is a mentality that getting the degree is what is important, doesn’t matter how much it costs. These adults are kids when they take out the loans. They do not realize how much they are paying and/or why. They go to the financial aid office, sign some papers and their college is paid for (they think) until they are 25 and can’t afford rent or utilities b/c their student loan payments are 800.00 a month. Same is true of those who get the HOPE scholarship. They don’t care how much it costs because they don’t pay for it. These colleges can just get away with adding fee after fee because no one says, “hey, wait, I can’t afford that” they just take out more loans.
The only people I know who are paying attention to the rising costs and ridiculous fees of these colleges are non-traditional students who are footing the bill themselves.
I will highly discourage my children from taking out student loans for an undergraduate education. It would be setting them up for financial failure as adults. Graduate school is a bit different as (hopefully but not always) a higher income can be achieved.

outsider

March 11th, 2012
11:52 am

“Spending has gone from $5.4 billion in 2007 to a projected $7 billion this year, and is expected to continue to climb next year.”

That is such a misleading statement in so many ways. How much of that was external research funding to USG, grants from private foundations, corporations or federal funding, that isn’t directly related to instruction? I believe the total budget numbers also include costs for operating residence halls, which students pay separately. The problem is that students, in all but a few cases, are not required to live on campus. Finally, these are not inflation adjusted numbers, and they do not account for the increase in student enrollment from roughly 270,000 in 2007 to 320,000 this year. It would be more useful to compare the amount of state spending per student in inflation adjusted dollars and the total spending per student, minus housing costs and external grants, in inflation adjusted dollars. I strongly suspect that would tell a very different story.

Course sections have been cut, class sizes have increased, and staff haven’t received raises in years. People with a conscious aren’t complaining, because they realize this has been a very difficult time for almost everyone in the state. But the writers leave the impression that the system is living big. Beyond a few presidents and vice provosts, that is certainly not the case.

liberalefty

March 11th, 2012
12:49 pm

td

stop blaming everything on the president…its not his fault your poor and uneducated..

redweather

March 11th, 2012
1:21 pm

Rank and file faculty haven’t had a raise in four years. They’ve had to deal with furloughs, however, as well as increased class sizes. A colleague of mine finally got a raise, but he had to retire to get it. And so it goes . . .

Shar

March 11th, 2012
1:25 pm

The fees (and they are numerous) charged by the universities should be banned. They are tuition in disguise, but the administrators prefer them as they help to camouflage the breathtaking increases in tuition that the USG has instituted over the last ten years.

If the Regents and the Legislature are to continue passing costs to the students, they should be required to admit the extent of their profligacy and to defend it publicly.

And professor, I agree. The bureaucratic overload at universities is shameful, but like every parasitic bureaucracy it simply feeds itself until the host (here, students and taxpayers) is drained. The Legislature can and should put a percentage maximum on salaries and benefits to be paid to non-teaching staff and be forced to keep to it.

Students are similar to patients: They are persuaded that the next degree or treatment will transform their lives, and they are battened upon by established interests who are not responsible for outcomes. The University System can and must curtail spending and focus their efforts on student-facing costs instead of building ever more lavish campuses and protecting non-essential jobs.

By the way, I drove through the Tech campus this weekend and was again amazed at how many new buildings have been added since I was there – no more than a few months ago, I might add. I could also see through several of the new structures, meaning that they have fancy – and useless – atria instead of solid classrooms. With the amount of ‘open space’ I could see just driving through, they could have spared the expense of building (and staffing, heating, maintaining, etc) a whole building if they had cut out the nonsense and put in classrooms.

Prof

March 11th, 2012
2:16 pm

@ outsider, March 11th, 11:52 am:

“Spending has gone from $5.4 billion in 2007 to a projected $7 billion this year, and is expected to continue to climb next year.” That is such a misleading statement in so many ways. How much of that was external research funding to USG, grants from private foundations, corporations or federal funding, that isn’t directly related to instruction?

I don’t really follow your criticism here. External research funding, private grants, and federal funding all go to the individual faculty members for their research projects. What does that have to do with a university’s spending? If anything, it balances the spending, for universities get indirect funds when a faculty member gets direct funds from research grants and fellowships.

No More Handouts

March 11th, 2012
2:47 pm

No one has a constitutional right for an education, much less, a free education. If someone wants a college education, they can do like I did. I paid as I went. I worked full-time and went to college part-time. I saved my money for my tuition. If I could afford two classes, I took two. If not, I only took one. Sometimes, I didn’t have enough money to go some semesters, so I couldn’t go. Bottom line, my education was my responsibility, no one elses. Where there is a will, there’s away. I made my way and finished and graduated with NO DEBT!! These kids can too! I don’t won’t to pay anymore taxes, I pay enough. Work towards your own education like some of us did!

Unfunded pension

March 11th, 2012
2:55 pm

Colleges too have a responsibility not to let costs escalate beyond all reason. The regents in Georgia have done a very poor job in this area preferring to rely on political pressure for more and more funds rather than forcing universities to make choices.

Gerald

March 11th, 2012
3:04 pm

No More Handouts:

The issue isn’t whether education is a privilege or a right. The issue is that Georgia needs a well-educated and highly skilled workforce to be competitive economically, not only regionally and nationally but internationally. If we let the quality and quantity of our highly skilled professionals dwindle, we’ll be behind Mississippi, South Carolina, etc. in no time. Think about us economically. We are not a major tourist destination like Florida. We don’t have huge reserves of natural resources (i.e. oil, coal, iron, gold). We also don’t have very many major federal installations (just a few bases, no national laboratories). The agricultural sector no longer supplies very many jobs thanks to automation, and the manufacturing sector has been in decline for decades. What draws companies to Georgia is intellectual capital, and even there we are at real risk of falling behind Florida and North Carolina, who have better universities (and more of them). That is what folks have to realize. Jobs – and the employers who provide them – don’t grow on trees, and cutting taxes and spending doesn’t make them spontaneously generate either. They need people who are able to do the work. Without an excellent higher education system, that isn’t going to exist.

Gerald

March 11th, 2012
3:11 pm

Unfunded pension:

See my comment to no more handouts. The only way for the USG to control costs is to offer a mediocre education. Having a competitive higher education system costs money. It takes money to build research facilities. It takes money to hire the best professors and administrators. Without researchers and top professors, UGA’s universities are no more than glorified junior colleges. (Actually, most of Georgia’s “universities” are precisely that anyway.) And with pedestrian colleges producing the sort of talent that you can find anywhere, there will be no reason for high-paying jobs to relocate here. And the top high school graduates won’t remain in-state no matter how much you bribe them with HOPE, because a free education won’t be worth the tradeoff for the earning potential that one would get by attending a top 100 university (which UGA and Georgia Tech are now).

Georgia is actually LUCKY that other nearby states (Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina) spend even less on higher education, and also that Atlanta’s economic boom resulted in our importing highly educated professionals from out of state. Without BOTH those factors, Georgia is probably worse off than Mississippi economically.

bootney farnsworth

March 11th, 2012
3:11 pm

we passed the breaking point long ago.
higher ed. is heading back to where it was pre WW2 where it is
the providence of the well.

bootney farnsworth

March 11th, 2012
3:14 pm

chancellor Davis did his tough times/tough choices by making the choice not to make tough choices.

BigDawg

March 11th, 2012
3:30 pm

I graduated in 1984 with my first degreee and many students at UGA worked to avoid debt, not now. Also, no raises in four years and salary compression with increased health care insurance costs has lowered my and other professors’ standard of living with being asked to do more with less. Administrative raises are suspect!

No more Handouts

March 11th, 2012
3:35 pm

Gerald…then you pay extra for better education. Again, my point is I paid for my own education, once class and one semester at a time. Yes, it did take me longer than four years, but I made the decision that my education was worth it, so I found a way to pay for it. I was not there whinning that it was fair that some kids have money and I didn’t. You make your own way in this world, or at least it use to be that way before all of this entitlement thinking. Not everyone will always have equality, that’s just the way it it. Get over it. You people that what an education, pay for it yourself.

Admiral Obvious

March 11th, 2012
3:43 pm

As noble as it sounds to pay for everyone to go to college, the fact is that government involvement in funding college education creates huge aberrations that dilutes the return of a college degree and increases significantly it’s costs. We’re seeing the same occurring in the cost of employer provided healthcare. As the government mandates more things to be covered the costs go up. Thus it costs everyone more to have private insurance until eventually employer provided healthcare completely disappears. It is important for everyone to have the opportunity to continue their education beyond high school. However college is not for everyone. Assistance should be based solely on financial need along with stringent accountability in the administrative side of colleges. No doubt all colleges could absorb a significant reduction in administration with little discernible loss of service to students.

bootney farnsworth

March 11th, 2012
3:44 pm

@ no more handouts

stop making yourself look stupid.
most college students work. damn near all of the them.

I have no idea when you graduated- frankly I don’t care-
but as a 30 decade member of the system, I know costs are
signifigantly higher in ed and in life than when you
graduated.

the only whinning going on here I see is yours.

bootney farnsworth

March 11th, 2012
3:47 pm

@ Admiral

for the most part you’re correct. especially about the administrative dead wood. but the part you may not see is the defacto moral corruption (if not outright legal) which goes on in higher ed administration.

think DCSS, but on steriods.

I’d love to see what we could do with our dollars if we actually spent them wisely

bootney farnsworth

March 11th, 2012
3:49 pm

frankly, the last the last thing any of us need is for college presidents to be in the classroom.

frankly, most aren’t close to qualified.
which is a major part of the problem

Chris

March 11th, 2012
3:54 pm

If enrollment is at an all-time high, then it seems the expense has not become cost prohibitive. They will charge as much as the market allows.

bootney farnsworth

March 11th, 2012
4:02 pm

during the last decade, this is what I’ve seen.
while your (the general public’s) dollars shrank, this is what the USG has been up to.

note: there is plenty of blame for everybody. nothing gets this screwed up by a single group, party, or agenda. but since I work in the USG, I can spot its flaws easiest

1-rising tuition
2-really rising book costs (the real elephant in the room)
3-football (sorry, but true)
4-presidential egos run rampant. primariy Adams and Tricoli, but they are by no means alone.
5-freezing of employee salaries while expenses skyrocketed
6-an all time high in the number of six figure administrators, most in the last four years
7-failure to make good decisions on what kind of technology is implented, and when/where
8-any number of “just because we can” fees
9-a pathological refusal to make sound economic decisions
10-an explosion of social engineering forced on our students. GPC alone has added civic engagement ,service learning, and sustainability
since the furlough alone.
11-an explosion of non teaching or teaching support positions during a so called hiring freeze.

bootney farnsworth

March 11th, 2012
4:05 pm

@ Chris,

not exactly.
true in theory, HOPE has tossed the reality on its ear.
since HOPE, more money comes to us via state distribution,
so prices have shot up.

just because it can. kinda like the 80s and doctors running all kinds
of tests simply because they could

bootney farnsworth

March 11th, 2012
4:06 pm

the sad reality is higher education is not in the higher education
business anymore.

its in the self promotion business.

Once Again

March 11th, 2012
4:17 pm

You can call it “investment” all you want, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is theft, plain and simple. Money is being taken from one group against their will and given to another who benefits quite well. The group the money is taken from is poorer, while the recipients are richer for their ill-gotten gains. Sure, you can squeeze out some tears from folks by talking about someone’s hardships and their successes after college. You can come up with plenty of statistics about incomes, poverty, single moms, whatever that sell the story, but in the end, the government is taking money from taxpayers in a manner that does not allow one to opt out, and is giving it to another group that has lobbied them harder and more effectively than the group being taken from.

Yes, college is expensive, but have you ever considered that the fact that so much taxpayer money being available has allowed colleges and universities to continually raise their fees, etc. without concern that it will impact the number of students paying the costs? I mean this is basic economics, but as soon as education is mentioned the average citizen throws all common sense or logic right out the window. Everyone knows that electronics and other household items are not going to be paid for by the government either through subsidy or through loan guarantees. Folks who make these products are forced to innovate, improve their product, and bring down the cost in order to maintain sales. When was the last time you saw a college or university do any of these???

You don’t think that education can be treated like a microwave?? It is just a product/service like any other. The innovated Kahn Academy online delivers course content for FREE and does an outstanding job of it. No, it may not address all educational needs, but it is just getting started and this is only one example of how the market can deliver when allowed to.

Schools LOVE money. Schools love guarantees of money. Schools know that legilators will bend over to public opinion and give them more money no matter what kind of service/value they deliver. It is far past time for government to get completely out of the business of education, whether that be direct funding, operating colleges and universities, or guaranteeing student loans at below market rate interest. It is high time that colleges and universities be FORCED by the market to lower their costs, innovate, cut bloated overhead and administration, and to make education a real value. The only way that will happen is with government out of the picture.

Gerald

March 11th, 2012
5:01 pm

No More Handouts:

“Not everyone will always have equality, that’s just the way it it. ”

What on earth are you talking about? This is about having a quality higher education system that allows this state to attract and generate jobs. If Georgia has a higher education system like Mississippi, it will have an economy like Mississippi. That is ALL that I am talking about. Your issues and grievances belong somewhere else.

P.S. I worked while in college myself. Telemarketing, unloading trucks, cashier, mopping floors, fast food, you name it. And I did some of that stuff after graduation while waiting for a job. You aren’t so special, fella, so quit thinking that you are.

Gerald

March 11th, 2012
5:08 pm

Once Again:

Identify for me a single country where education is not government-funded. Whatever country you name, it will be a dirt poor third world one. You libertarians keep proposing ideas that have either never been tested in the real world, or have failed wherever it was tested. The idea that private education is so expensive because the government offers a cheaper alternative is hilarious. And by the way: you keep thinking that colleges can offer engineering, medical, architecture etc. degrees on the cheap. Seriously, you guys are delusional. You also don’t realize how much higher education saves corporate America. If corporate America had to train its own workforce, it wouldn’t be competitive. Why? Because higher education in Canada, Europe, Asia etc. trains the workforces for THEIR companies. You think that we are losing jobs and companies overseas NOW? One could only IMAGINE what the result of your “I listen to Neal Boortz, read Reason and saw the ‘Ayn Rand’ movie so that makes me an economic policy expert!” ideas were actually implemented.

An Easy Cut

March 11th, 2012
5:15 pm

Here is an easy cut — do not allow illegal aliens into any of our schools. We just cannot afford it and it is, uh….illegal.
At a time when tax-paying American law-abiding families are struggling to afford college for their legal, law-abiding future tax-paying children to go to Georgia’s colleges, it makes no sense for Georgian’s to pay, at minimum 54% of a criminal’s education.

Get ILLEGAL ALIENS out of all of Georgia’s schools today.
Good Mother

Chris

March 11th, 2012
5:23 pm

Mr/Ms Farnsworth, based on the clear data on rising tuition/affiliated expenses, it is not simply a theoretical matter. It is a matter of reality. Even at current expenses, there is still a perceived value to a USG degree which exceeds the expense. If this were not true, the patrons of this service/business would turn to another provider of similar services. There are hundreds of alternatives, yet there is still a greater demand than supply every year.

Private colleges are also subsidized

March 11th, 2012
5:24 pm

It used to be that at minimum, 75% of the cost of going to a GA college was government funded, that’s the subsidy. Today it is 54%, which is still a lot.

…but so is private school. Even when a college student’s family pays the “full” tuition price with cash, tat education is still government subsidized. Our government gives grants to private colleges to do research that is deemed helpful to our government. For-profit corporations like Coca-Cola give endowments to private schools such as Emory. That money that Coke gives is made by the work and labor of regular-Joe citizens.

The point is that NO ONE in the US ever pays the full price of their college tuition, even when they go to a private school and pay the “full” tuition.

College must be affordable to everyone who wants to and who can do the college-level work. When the United States is an educated nation, we are a stronger nation. We the United States better become more and more educated, not less. If we become less educated we will become the “Mexico” of the planet — we don’t want our citizens to become cheap day-laborers and trinket makers and sellers. We cannot pay for a strong military and provide necessary high technology by becoming a nation filled with minimum wager earners and zero tax-payers. Education equals financial prosperity and freedom.
Good Mother

Gerald

March 11th, 2012
6:21 pm

An Easy Cut:

First off, I oppose illegal immigration, because I support general adherence to the law. I also oppose rewarding those who break the law. BUT illegal immigration has nothing to do with the cost of higher education. The percentage of illegal immigrants that attend Georgia public colleges is 0.11%, practically zero. The percentage that attends trade schools: 0.19%.

Another thing: illegal immigrants have to pay out of state tuition. They also do not have access to Pell Grants and many other forms of state and federal financial aid. So the idea that we could solve this problem by barring illegal immigrants is mythology. Not that we shouldn’t do it ANYWAY just for the sake of adherence to our laws, mind you, but it wouldn’t get us anywhere towards solving our higher education financing woes, especially when you consider that illegal immigrants are actually paying more than Georgia residents.

I hate to sound like the liberal on this thread, but I can’t help it when conservatives keep proposing bad policy. Like it or not, in our modern economy that is no longer either agricultural or industrial, universities are the primary economic engine. And as Georgia doesn’t have much to offer in terms of private universities beyond Emory (unlike some of our competitors like North Carolina, Florida and Texas) then it is up to UGA, Georgia Tech, and GHSU to draw and create jobs with their research and graduates. And we don’t even have the beach and year-round good weather to steal the best talent from other states like southern California and Florida. And cultural attractions/quality of life? Please. MBAs running tech companies aren’t looking for football tailgating and NASCAR races.

Really, the emphasis on higher education is SOMEWHAT misplaced, as we actually need to focus on K-12 (or more accurately 6-12, or at least 9-12) because strong colleges are generally a reflection of strong college STUDENTS. Georgia needs more magnet schools and more private schools. But that is a story for another day. As for this topic, a strong higher education system is necessary. It is a shame that so many people are bent on denying it.

resno2

March 11th, 2012
6:35 pm

College students in debt are an easy obama target.

Momof2teens

March 11th, 2012
7:01 pm

As a mom of kids headed to college in 2012 and 2013, here’s what I’ve noticed:

1) College living is now like a country club. Fancy rec centers, 2-4 bedroom apartments that are larger than my first apartment, etc.
2) When someone else foots the bill (whether it’s student loans or scholarships) people don’t pay attention to the actual cost and don’t factor cost into their decision.
3) Yes, kids can work their way through college, however with today’s lower paying jobs kids aren’t making as high of a percentage of the cost of college as they did years ago.
4) Parents/schools/counselors don’t teach their kids the downfalls to taking out student loan debt. Many of the party and travel using their student loans, only to later realize how much they will have to pay per month on that debt.
5) I highly recommend reading Debt Free U for those who are/will be paying for college in the near future.

We’ve told our kids they have $X from us for college. It’s not enough to go away to school or to play at school. The amount sounded like a lot to them. Then I put together a spread sheet showing them the costs of going to different colleges, living at home vs. on campus, the amount we would contribute, what HOPE would contribute and what THEY would have to contribute. It was a very eye-opening experience for them.

Concerned GPC Prof

March 11th, 2012
7:43 pm

The problem is rampant waste at the top. Witness the increase in the number of deans and VP’s in recent years, which is mentioned in the story. What’s not mentioned is the proliferation of unnecessary “initiatives” with superfluous administrators.

My institution, Georgia Perimeter, probably does more with less than any school in the USG system and is one of the best educational values in the Southeast. But even at GPC, we’re spending millions of dollars on “initiatives” that don’t really have much to do with educating students. Things like the “Center for Civic Engagement,” the “Center for Sustainability,” and the “Southern Academy for Literary Arts and Scholarly Research.” (At a two-year school? Seriously?) These seem to exist mostly just to pad the resumes of the president and other top administrators, so that they can brag about being on the “leading edge” of this or that trend while they’re out looking for other jobs.

If that’s what’s going on at GPC, just imagine what’s happening at some of state’s “prestigious” research institutions.

Gerald, did you actually read the story?

March 11th, 2012
8:27 pm

Gerald, did you actually read the story? The state of GA pays 54% of the cost of a student’s education. So when a student pays what they think of as the “full” tuition price, they are only paying 46% of it.
Now you say “especially when you consider that illegal immigrants are actually paying more than Georgia residents.”
That crack you are smoking must be good. Illegal immigrants cost this state and this nation TONS of money from health care at birth all through their lives, k-12, welfare, WIC, food stamps/SNAP and in higher education.
We need Illegals OUT NOW.
Good Mother

Reality

March 11th, 2012
8:50 pm

Reality..most of this is the parents fault for fallling into the trap of wanting to “brag” where their child is going and how they “sent” them off, instead of sitting down with their children and making choices that make sense. I am very proud of my daughter who decided to not only stay at home for college but went local to GA Tech. She is a junior who will graduate in a year with NO DEBT. Her attitude after seeing so many of her friends OLDER siblings boomerang back home after college is that 1)once she left home unless it was absolutely necessary she didn’t want to return. She wanted her independence to be real not just a “temporary” 4 year retreat. 2)She wanted her opportunities to be open to live ANYWHERE after 4 years. She quickly realized that student loans would restrict her from affording her first apartment AND loan payments. Parents need to understand this a whole new world. Just because they went away to college doesn’t mean its such a great idea for their own kids.

To Reality

March 11th, 2012
8:59 pm

How did your daughter go to school without any debt? I realize she is living at home with you but college tuition is high at Tech — is she paying her own way — how?
GM

exteacher

March 11th, 2012
10:39 pm

I noticed that tuition started going up when I was in GRAD SCHOOL AT GA STATE It seems that tuition increased with the whatever they could charge from the then bustling HOPE fund. It was whatever the traffic would bear. At the same time they were screwing the heck out of the part time instructors who seemed to teach a lot of classes, while professors taught very few classes. Add to this the crazy movement toward making what was then and still is a commuter school and it is the mess it is today. And now they have a football team? Fees are charged to all students to subsidize the few stay on campus students. And when I went to see about teaching a class part time (Sports…) It was amazing how little they wanted to pay, no parking, please… They just did not have the funds etc. No donations from this former student.

redweather

March 11th, 2012
10:39 pm

@Concerned at GPC Prof, the “Southern Academy for Literary Arts and Scholarly Research” is a joke, perhaps rivaled in its joke-ness only by the now defunct Writers Institute.

Just sayin'

March 11th, 2012
10:43 pm

Did anyone see this story as it was presented in Sunday’s paper? There was a list of the top 10 highest paid (non-coaching) university system employees. Who’s the highest paid? Not the presidents of UGA or Tech, but Tech’s athletic director, at $935,000+/year. C’mon, is that really a good use of taxpayer funds?

Just for kids

March 12th, 2012
12:20 am

I worked my way through 3 degrees sometimes working 60 hours a week. I didn’t like it but I did it. I can’t believe the lavish life styles so many college students enjoy today at the cost of running up their student loans. It’s really stupid behavior by kids and their parents. So many of these students are not doing anything with their degrees upon graduation. American parents and kids need to wake up. Debt is not easily repaid. Get a degree online. Distance learning should become more widespread. I know so many parents feel they need to pay for their kids to have a “college experience” which includes expensive room and board, car, spending money, etc. Too many parents have spent their retirement savings to afford this expensive experience for their kids as though it’s some entittlement and gurantee of the good life. It’s not!

The other side of the story is that parents and their kids are being sold a bill of goods by many institutions of higher learning. What kids get in too many instances is of little value and certainly not worth the high cost of the experience. Wake up America!

John

March 12th, 2012
1:09 am

It sounds like many parents are having children they can not afford. I was always taught that as a parent it was my responsibility to see that my offspring were raised and educated until they were prepared to leave the nest and fly on their own; in todays world that includes a college education.

If you can not meet your obligations to your children, then you should not have them!

Clide Justice

March 12th, 2012
2:33 am

Its not republicans that is the problem its overpriced administrators that like College professor stated do nothing but have meetings and put additional burdens on staff. I am a masters student and I see how our faculty are overworked but not underpaid unless they are adjunct. Tenure professors have it made and graduate assistants do lots of work for little pay.

Taylor

March 12th, 2012
6:58 am

The HOPE scholarship has lulled some parents into thinking they do not need to save for their child’s education. My daughter went through UGA on the HOPE. I had the savings to pay for her living expenses….money that had specifically been put aside for her education. I am a single parent with a deadbeat ex. I did without vacations and extras for myself….so no excuses for many of those middle class parents who say they “can’t afford” to save anything. Also, when she wanted to go to Emory, the answer had to be “no” we can’t afford it. It’s tough to say that to your child, but she came out of undergrad debt-free and appreciates that decision now.

Laurie

March 12th, 2012
7:11 am

The number of adminstrators and their salaries has gotten way out of hand. Universities should be in the business of educating our youth, not providing plush salaries to a group of sloths.

Mountain Man

March 12th, 2012
7:32 am

I agree that when you look at the University buildings, you see nothing but the best and the newest buildings – are they really necessary? And someone mentioned book prices – $600 for a semester’s books? Most written by (and required by) the Professor teaching the class. Fees have skyrocketed – to pay for football teams and track teams? Why not make those optional for those who don’t want them. Soon it will be only the rich who can afford to go to college – not the smartest and the best.

peterzfrank

March 12th, 2012
7:35 am

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Mountain Man

March 12th, 2012
7:39 am

One of the by-products of the HOPE scholarship was that the Stae could cut their contribution to colleges and universities, expecting it to be picked up by HOOPE. And it was – for a while. Now, HOPE is floundering and the State is not going to go back to previous funding levels, so ALL of the burden is on the students.

OUTRAGED!

March 12th, 2012
7:46 am

I find it abhorrent that the University System thinks people should pay MORE for the glorified daycare that attendance at UGA is.