The University System of Georgia (USG) has recently decided to increase college tuition from rates as low as 2.5 percent to as high as 9 percent.
Georgia Board of Regents approved this decision for Georgia State, along with Georgia Regents University, who will both experience a 5.5 percent increase in the fall. Georgia State will see a semester increase of $223.
The AJC states that this increase is due to the research institutions’ need to stay competitive with schools nationwide, due to the school’s high demand. The increase is also necessary for the hiring of new faculty and the expenses required to operate the campuses as a whole, as well as the 3 percent increase in HOPE scholarships that will follow.
To help combat this increase, schools like Georgia State have created what is known as a Panther Retention Grant.
This grant helps aid students who are on the right track towards graduation but are not financially able to support their academic goals.
According to Georgia State’s Student Success website, about 72 percent of students pursuing bachelor’s degrees were awarded the grant. The average cost of the grant is about $900. While this grant is useful, it is only available to students who have exhausted every other outlet, such as working a job, receiving other grants, loans, scholarships and family help.
Dr. Timothy Renick, Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Success, said they will be doing all they can to help combat this 5.5 percent increase at Georgia State.
“We award the Panther Retention Grant to approximately 2,000 students a year, and we will increase the grants to cover the increase in tuition,” Renick said. “Last year alone, about one quarter of the students who graduated with Bachelor’s degrees from Georgia State received the grant at some point during their studies.”
The website states that nearly 2,000 students returned to school after leaving due to financial issues. Renick said that this grant helps combat the issue of finance-related dropouts.
“Student fees at Georgia State have not been raised for eight years,” Renick said. “The grant is designed to allow students to stay registered in their classes, hence there is an emphasis on covering tuition and fees.”
While this grant is funded to 2,000 students, Renick said low-income students benefit the most, along with students who are close to graduating.
“Low-income students tend to benefit the most from the grant because they more often have trouble covering their college costs,” Renick said. “In many cases, the students are close to graduating but running out of eligibility for HOPE, Pell or other support programs.”
Starting in 2016, Georgia State also began awarding the Panther Retention Grant to Perimeter Campus students.