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College tuition to increase 2.5 percent

Rate increase holds from 2012

MORROW — The average full-time student will pay about $56 more tuition this fall at Clayton State University.

The University System of Georgia Board of Regents announced Tuesday it will keep the percentage increase in tuition at the same level as last year. The board approved a 2.5 percent in-state tuition hike for undergraduate students at 27 of its colleges and universities.

Fiscal Affairs Vice Chancellor John Brown presented the tuition strategy the board meeting in Savannah. He said the percentage increase remains the lowest in a decade.

Clayton State’s tuition will rise $56 for in-state students carrying 15 credit hours, according to data provided by the University System of Georgia. Out-of-state students will pay $205 more. Gordon State College in nearby Barnesville will see tuition hikes at $36 for in-state students and $131 for out-of-state students.

Gordon State students will also have to pay $139 fees for their new student recreation center, as Clayton State increases its student center fees from $75 to $100 for the fall semester.

Pat Barton is the financial aid director at Clayton State. She expects the increased fees and tuition will be marginally felt.

She said students receiving a full Pell Grant will only see about a $7.50 semester increase. The other $47.50 will be offset by the higher Pell Grant awards for 2013-14.

“We do not anticipate that this slight increase will be a determining factor that would prevent a student from attending,” Barton said. “The benefits of a quality education at Clayton State University still far outweigh the cost.”

Students attending the University of Georgia and Georgia State University will see the same percentage increase as in 2012 — 5 and 3.5 percent respectively. Students at Georgia Tech will see a 7 percent hike in tuition this fall, while those attending Georgia Regents University will pay 3.5 percent more. The rise in tuition for those institutions will range from $32 to $270 per semester.

Brown said the tuition rates maintain the current tuition balance of state funding covering 50 percent of the cost of instruction and tuition the remaining 50 percent. He said the 2.5 percent increase also keeps pace with the 2.2 percent inflation rate.

“In determining tuition rates for the upcoming academic year, affordability was the regents’ primary concern,” said Brown. “Our ability to maintain a low percentage increase reflects a serious commitment by the Board to minimize the financial impact on our students.”

Chancellor Hank Huckaby credits Gov. Nathan Deal and the General Assembly with the “small percentage increase” in the fiscal year 2014 budget.

“We received $63 million in new formula funds to support our enrollment growth,” said Huckaby. “This is critical to our efforts to minimize tuition increases for students and we appreciate the support.”

Officials encourage students to seek out their college and university financial aid offices for potential scholarships and financial assistance beyond the federal or state programs.