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Thursday May 28th, 2015 2:12AM

Tuition increase approved for Ga.'s technical colleges

By Staff
ATLANTA - The state board that oversees the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) Thursday approved the system's request for a tuition increase of $10 per credit hour starting next year.

TCSG students at the 25 TCSG colleges will pay $85 per credit hour beginning in the spring 2013 semester. As a result, tuition for a full, 15-hour course load will cost $1,275 next semester, or $150 more than today.

Three-quarters of TCSG students use HOPE to help pay for their tuition, mostly in the form of the HOPE grant, which pays $60.75 per credit hour. With the increase, students who enroll under the HOPE grant will pay $364 in out of pocket tuition for a full semester, up from the $214 that they currently spend.

In addition, the TCSG board approved a new $50 institutional fee beginning in spring 2013 and a $50 fee for online courses starting in fall 2013. TCSG students will pay, on average, a total of $223 in fees starting in the spring.

Once the expense of books is added in, usually about $500, the total cost to attend a TCSG college full-time for a semester next year will be just under $2,000. The out-of-pocket cost for students who qualify for the HOPE grant will be about $1,086.

Many students can reduce the cost of their TCSG education if they qualify for the federal Pell grant, which is awarded based on financial need. Last year, more than half of the 170,000 students who enrolled at TCSG colleges utilized the Pell grant.

"A tuition and fee increase was made necessary by the rising expenses to deliver our programs and lower state appropriations," said TCSG Commissioner Ron Jackson. "A state technical college education remains an excellent value compared to the cost, yet we fully understand the impact that any additional expense has on our students. The colleges will do all that they can to provide sources of financial assistance to those who need it most. We're committed to seeing that all of our students get the opportunity they deserve to be a part of Georgia's 21st century workforce."
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