Georgia's technical college students will be feeling the pinch of higher education when tuition costs increase by 13 percent in 2013.
Thursday, the Technical College System of Georgia voted to increase tuition, as well as to add a variety of other fees to students. This is the first time the board has ever voted to increase tuition after the start of a school year, according to a statement from spokesman Mike Light.
The increases come on the heels of Governor Nathan Deal's directive that state agencies cut their spending by 3 percent, a decision that has affected all higher education in the state.
Students will be paying $85 per credit hour (an increase of $10) beginning spring semester. Broken down, this makes tuition for a full time, 15-hour course load, a total of $1,275 - $150 more than it is currently.
But the increases don't stop there. Students will also be required to pay a new $50 institutional fee and a $50 for online courses. According to a press release from the TCSG, students will spend an average of $223.
Roughly three-quarters of technical college students use HOPE to help pay for their college expenses. This pays $60.75 per credit hour, making those students responsible for about $364 in out-of-pocket expenses, up from the $214 they pay currently.
Factoring in the cost of books, students are looking at paying approximately $2,000 ($1,086 for HOPE grant recipients) out-of-pocket for their technical education.
"A tuition and fee increase was made necessary by the rising expenses to deliver our programs and lower state appropriations," said TCSG Commissioner Ron Jackson in a press release. "A state technical college education remains an excellent value compared to the cost, yet we fully understand the impact that any additional expense has on our students. The colleges will do all that they can to provide sources of financial assistance to those who need it most. We're committed to seeing that all of our students get the opportunity they deserve to be a part of Georgia's 21st century workforce."
There are 25 technical colleges in Georgia, and in 2012 102,000 students took courses - both in school and virtually - at technical colleges, amounted to 2.7 million credit hours.