Technical Colleges' State Board Approves $385.7 Million FY09 Budget Request
The state board that oversees the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) approved a $385.7 million budget that includes a $5 per credit hour increase in student tuition. The board's approval came during its monthly meeting, which was held at Coosa Valley Technical College in Rome.
Georgia's technical college tuition has been and will continue to be one of the lowest among the southern states. The new increase, the first in two years, will raise the annual cost from $1,488 to $1,728 for a full-time student.
"We're delighted that the increase to our students is a minimal one," said Sharon Bartels, Gwinnett Technical College president. "Yet it will allow us to continue to pursue and offer the most current and relevant programs, keeping our students competitive in the workplace and attractive to employers in industries across the board."
Carl Swearingen, the chairman of the TCSG state board, noted that the majority of students should see little extra out-of-pocket expense and that there's reward in the long-term. "A full-time Georgia technical college student will pay 16 percent more beginning in 2008, yet most students will find that the extra tuition will be covered by their HOPE and Pell grants," said Swearingen. "We're keeping our tuition affordable and our education valuable, especially given that our technical college graduates are in high demand and many enter the workforce making $40,000 a year or more," said Swearingen.
The 33 colleges that make up the TCSG enrolled 147,852 students in 2006. More than 80 percent of those students received financial aid, mostly in the form of state HOPE and federal Pell grants.
A quality education from a Georgia technical college remains a relative bargain. According to data from the Southern Regional Education Board, Georgia's technical college tuition was the second-lowest among its 16 member states in 2006. The additional $5 per credit hour should do little to change that ranking.
TCSG Commissioner Ron Jackson said that the board's decision to raise tuition was necessary given the rising education costs associated with maintaining the technical edge that's critical to keeping Georgia competitive in the global marketplace.
"It's increasingly more expensive to educate and train in strategic industries like healthcare, aerospace and life sciences," said Jackson. "It's essential that we keep pace because a highly-educated and technically-skilled workforce is the heart and soul of Georgia's economic future."
For more information about Gwinnett Tech or to enroll in one of its many associate degree, diploma or certificate programs, call 770-962-7580 or visit www.GwinnettTech.edu.