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6 percent tuition increase possible for fall 2011

A six percent tuition increase will take effect fall 2011, President Dr. Patrick Schloss said during the Planning and Budget Committee Jan. 29.

The institutional fee that has been added to student fees for the past few years will be incorporated into tuition because this is the last year the fee can be used, Dr. Schloss said.

The expected tuition increase will be used in part to counter act the budget cuts that are going to be made to higher education by legislators in the Georgia General Assembly

With these cuts, VSU will be looking at a 10 percent reduction for the FY 2012 budget, Dr. Schloss said.

Schloss urged the Planning and Budget committee to be careful when laying out the budget for FY 2012.

One of the top priorities is to put as much flexibility into next year’s budget at possible so that money can move around if necessary.

“We need a budget model that avoids the death spiral,” he said.

The state funding that the University System of Georgia is proposed to be receiving for FY 2012 is the lowest per student since 1994, Dr. Schloss said.

Over the past four years, FY09 to FY12, VSU’s state appropriations have been reduced by 48 percent, which is equivalent to $23 million and about the same of half of the current tuition revenue from all VSU students, Dr. Schloss said.

“Legislators have discovered that we can now take big hits,” Dr. Schloss said. “So, they will continue to slash at the higher education budget.”

Dr. Schloss also addressed the question of how VSU can continue with construction even though raises can’t be given to employees.

The Kay and Jerry Jennett lecture hall is expected to pay for itself within three years because it allows for more super-section classes.

He also addressed the issue of capping enrollment. Enrollment growth preserves the five guarantees that Dr. Schloss established once budget cuts started three years ago.

Enrollment growth actually brings in more money than if enrollment was capped.

Enrollment increased by 1,500 from fall 2008 to fall 2010. This increase brought in $20 million that would not have existed if enrollment was capped.

The issue for fall 2011 is that is HOPE is altered too much then fewer students may be able to attend universities and in turn ruin extra funds that an enrollment increase could bring in.

Even though funding is the lowest it’s been since 1994, the state funding is still more solid than it is in other states.

Because of this, the amount students pay is pretty good compared to other states, Dr. Schloss said.

Florida is the only state that borders Georgia that has a lower tuition and fee rate for a four-year public institution.

Final decisions on tuition increases and the FY 2012 budget will be made once the Board of Regents receives the final total of state appropriations from Georgia legislators.

*CORRECTION: The six percent tuition increase was based off of the current budget scenario presented to VSU by the Board of Regents. It is not the definite tuition increase, said Phil Gunter, Provost and Chair of the Planning and Budget Committee.

If special fees are incorporated into tuition, it will be after FY 2012 and the decision will be made by the Board of Regents, Gunter said.

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