College Student Fees Are Going Up; and a Legislator Warns That These Increases Likely Won't Be Enough

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Byline: BRANDON LARRABEE

ATLANTA - Regents are set to approve a plan today that would increase student fees and force employees to pay more for their health insurance as the state's budget crisis deepens.

The proposal would place a fee of $50 a semester on students at two-year and four-year colleges, $75 at most four-year universities and $100 at the state's four research institutions - the University of Georgia, Medical College of Georgia, Georgia Tech and Georgia State. It also calls for University System of Georgia employees to pay for 30 percent of the cost of their health-care plans, up from 25 percent.

Both changes would take effect Jan. 1. Employees would be allowed a new open enrollment period to change their coverage if the insurance plan is approved.

Regents approved the outline of the plan in August as a way to deal with budget cuts if they climbed as high as 8 percent. With state tax revenue figures still bleak, most economists and observers expect the cuts to reach at least 8 percent and potentially 10 percent or more.

"The priority has clearly been that if we go to a higher level of cuts, we're trying as much as possible now to protect that core instruction mission," said John Millsaps, a spokesman for the university system. …