Board of Regents Sets FY12 Tuition, Fee Rates

Students attending Dalton State in the fall will pay $141 extra per semester in tuition and institutional fees, as determined by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia in a meeting Tuesday.

The Board approved a three percent hike in tuition for state colleges and an increase from $100 to $200 per semester of a special institutional fee first imposed two years ago. The fee is increased in an attempt to minimize impact to HOPE Scholarship recipients whose awards are tied to FY11 tuition rates.

The combined tuition and special institutional fee actions result in a weighted average increase of nine percent for all University System students.

“A fulltime, in-state student at Dalton State taking 15 credit hours or more will pay tuition and fees totaling $1,811 in the fall,” said Dr. John O. Schwenn, President of Dalton State.

Continued cuts in state appropriations for higher education have resulted in the lowest state funding levels in 17 years. Funding per fulltime student in 1994 was $5,412; for FY12, which begins July 1, funding per student is $5,505. State appropriations reached their peak 10 years ago when each Georgia student was funded at nearly $8,300.

“A three percent increase in tuition will amount to an estimated $270,000 for us, assuming enrollment next year stays the same as this year,” said Scott Bailey, Vice President for Fiscal Affairs for Dalton State. “The institutional fee increase should bring us about $1.2 million; together that’s $1.47 million which almost exactly offsets cuts we received this year from loss of stimulus funds and a six percent cut we took from the Board of Regents and loss of funds for enrollment growth.

“Budgets are going to be fairly flat year over year,” Bailey said. “And if we have a decrease in enrollment, we’ll get less.” He said that in the eight years he’s been with the College, he’s seen state appropriations cut from approximately 70 percent of the College’s annual budget to just under 50 percent now.

“State support drops and student tuition and fees go up, even though the budget remains flat year to year,” he said. “At the same time, we’ve added 1,000 students since 2008, and we’ve had to add faculty and advisors and other services to accommodate the additional students.” The state has allocated “formula funds” to institutions experiencing enrollment growth in the past; that ceases with the FY12 budget.

In other news from the Board of Regents, it was announced that the General Assembly approved a capital budget for the USG totaling $180.9 million, including more than $8 million for an academic building for Dalton State. The amount included in the budget is approximately half that necessary to build and furnish the building, according to Bailey; it is anticipated that the remaining funds will be allocated next year.

“We owe a deep debt of gratitude to our local legislative delegation–particularly Sen. Charlie Bethel—for championing our building through the budgetary process,” said Dalton State President Dr. John Schwenn.

“In addition to our legislators, I also wish to thank the many supporters in our community who expressed support for our project,” Dr. Schwenn added. “This would include faculty, staff and students of Dalton State, as well as trustees and other supporters of the Dalton State College Foundation who shared their thoughts during this legislative session. We are deeply grateful to all for their efforts.

“This has been an extremely difficult year for us financially as our budget has been cut deeply in so many different places,” Dr. Schwenn said.

“I have been gratified by the measures faculty and staff have taken to cut spending at the College while still preserving high levels of service to our students,” Dr. Schwenn said. “It is essential that we remain accessible and affordable to the students and prospective students of Northwest Georgia and beyond.”

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