Ga. Regents Board Suggests Tuition, Fee Increases

ATLANTA (AP) - Faced with up to 228 million dollars in expected budget cuts, Georgia's colleges are looking at laying off employees, increasing student fees and revoking guaranteed tuition rates.

The state Board of Regents voted today to send its budget blueprint to Governor Sonny Perdue, who will make final recommendations to state lawmakers on how to cope with an expected 1.6 billion dollar statewide shortfall this fiscal year.

Like most state agencies and departments, the board is trying to figure out how to cut anywhere from 6 to 10 percent from its budget.

State lawmakers will hammer out a budget when they convene in January, although Perdue is under mounting pressure from lawmakers and other state officials to hold a special session sooner to address the state's financial woes.

Davis said Perdue's heralded "Fixed for Four" tuition plan could fall victim to the cuts. Under the plan adopted in 2006, students were guaranteed one tuition rate for four years at Georgia's public colleges and universities.

Davis said the tuition guarantee program was contingent on colleges getting full funding. A spokesman for Perdue did not return calls for comment.

College officials say the cuts could also mean hiring freezes, layoffs and delays in campus construction across the state.

Employees may have to pay more of their health insurance premiums, which would mean up to $800 a year taken out of their paychecks.

Other cuts include fewer police officers, more part-time faculty in classrooms, no computer upgrades and fewer books and magazines
in campus libraries.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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