State Tuition Inches Closer to Private Universities; UGa President Says Health Care Costs Are Partly to Blame for the Increases

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ATLANTA - University of Georgia President Michael Adams told alumni Thursday he regrets a trend in state governments across the country to force parents and students to carry an increasing share of the cost of public higher education, as they would in private colleges.

"What really disturbs me is this shift to privatized higher education," he said in response to an audience question at the Terry College of Business' Third Thursday alumni breakfast in Atlanta's upscale Buckhead community.

The share of each student's education borne by state taxpayers has declined from 43 percent when he was hired 13 years ago to about 33 percent in next year's budget. It had slowly risen toward 64 percent before the recent economic recession.

The current level comes from a cut in state appropriations and a 16 percent hike in tuition for next fall's freshmen and sophomores. Juniors and seniors are protected from tuition increases as part of a Fixed for Four tuition freeze that is no longer offered.

"The governor, the state legislature, I don't think anyone really enjoyed what they had to do," Adams said.

Georgia isn't alone. Most states have also cut their support for colleges and universities.

The extreme is Michigan where tuition at the University of Michigan has soared to nearly match that of the private Emory University, according to Adams.

The national trend hits schools of all sizes, meaning that Georgia's average required annual statewide tuition and fees for full-time students at public four-year institutions was $3,601 in 2007-08, a rise of 31 percent over 10 years when adjusted for inflation. …


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