Technical colleges to see tuition, fees hike

McDONOUGH — Southern Crescent Technical College students and other technical college students around the state will see increased tuition and fees next spring.

The state board that oversees the Technical College System of Georgia Sept. 6 approved the system’s request for a tuition increase of $10 per credit hour, starting next year.

Southern Crescent Tech President Randall Peters said the measure could affect many of the more than 2,000 Henry County residents who are enrolled at the college and add nearly $800,000 to the general fund next spring and nearly $1.6 million next year.

Students at the state’s 25 technical colleges will pay $85 per credit hour beginning in the spring 2013 semester. As a result, tuition for a full, 15-hour course load will cost $1,275 next semester, or $150 more than today.

Rising operations costs and lower state appropriations have prompted officials to fill the gaps by increasing student tuition, said Ron Jackson, commissioner of the Technical College System of Georgia.

“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,” said Jackson. “The colleges will do all that they can to provide sources of financial assistance to those who need it most.”

Three-quarters of technical college students use HOPE to help pay for their tuition, mostly in the form of the HOPE grant, which pays $60.75 per credit hour. With the increase, students who enroll under the HOPE grant will pay $364 in out-of-pocket tuition for a full semester, up from $214.

The board also approved a new $50 institutional fee beginning in spring 2013 and a $50 fee for online courses starting in fall 2013. Technical college students will pay, on average, a total of $223 in fees starting in the spring.

Once the expense of books is added in, usually about $500, the total cost to attend one of the state’s technical colleges full-time for a semester next year will be just under $2,000. The out-of-pocket cost for students who qualify for the HOPE grant will be about $1,086.

Many students can reduce the cost of their technical college education if they qualify for the federal Pell grant, which is awarded based on financial need. Last year, more than half of the 170,000 students who enrolled at the state’s technical colleges used the Pell grant.

For more information about the Technical College System of Georgia, visit www.tcsg.edu.