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The vicious cycle of tuition hikes

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POSTED: January 24, 2011 1:10 p.m.

It would seem state officials’ educational cuts are steering Georgia’s university system into a rather perilous conundrum.
As it stands, Gov. Nathan Deal has proposed another round of deep cuts to the state’s university system. Deal has also mentioned drastically curbing funds for HOPE scholarships.
Having already raised tuitions to cover budget cuts, the university system must increase tuitions again to offset funding shortfalls from Deal’s proposals.
“If I were a betting person, would I expect there to be a tuition increase?” Chancellor Erroll Davis, head of the state’s university system, posed Tuesday. “I would say yes.”
It would take a tuition hike of about 30 percent to replace state funds lost in Deal’s proposed cuts. What Davis said next touched upon the third part of the state education conundrum.
Don’t expect to see tuitions increase by 30 percent. Too many students and their families would no longer be able to afford Georgia colleges and universities.
And if fewer students can afford to pay tuition, that registers as even less funding coming into universities, which would lead to further tuition increases and budget cuts.
Georgia seems to be playing Catch-22 with its education and subsequently its future.
Essentially, if tuition is raised so high and HOPE scholarships cut so deep that no one can afford to attend a state college or university, then there will be no state colleges or state universities for them to attend.
Or they will resemble some long-ago institution where only the wealthy can afford a college education.
States across the country face similar dilemmas. On Tuesday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced billions in cuts for his state’s public education budget.
So, Georgia is not alone. Education cuts are becoming a national pandemic rather than an isolated affliction.
Still, we must wonder if these cuts aren’t cutting our future short? Educational budget cuts may keep the state afloat today, but will slashing funding to schools, colleges and universities absolutely sink us tomorrow?
In the land of the Hope scholarship, are these educational cuts creating a state with little hope for our children and grandchildren?
No conundrums here. Answers to these questions, unfortunately, seem all too clear.

 

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