Georgia colleges cut tuition to nearby out-of-state students

Students in neighboring states could soon attend some Georgia colleges at much cheaper in-state tuition rates under a plan being implemented by the state’s University System.

The initiative is aimed at colleges predominantly in South Georgia that have had declining enrollments.

Out-of-state tuition rates paid by non-Georgia residents are about three times more than in-state rates at most Georgia colleges.

The state’s Board of Regents, the University System’s governing body, voted Wednesday to update tuition waiver policies.

Georgia colleges already have agreements with certain counties in states bordering Georgia that allows students in those jurisdictions to attend college here at the lower rate. The new proposal would expand the agreements to prospective students throughout the entire neighboring states.

University System Chancellor Hank Huckaby addressed the enrollment declines during a budget presentation to state lawmakers earlier this year. Huckaby identified about 15 colleges, mainly in South Georgia, that had been hard hit by changes to federal financial aid, state policies limiting remedial classes offered at University System schools and competition from other higher education institutions.

To help the schools, the system is also moving from a funding formula based on enrollment to one based on performance measures like retention and graduation.

System officials hope to have the affected schools identified and the new policy implemented this fall.

University System of Georgia enrollment declines

The number of students these colleges had in the fall of 2014 represented a decline from their peak enrollment.

Albany State University: 3,910 students in the fall of 2014; a 16.15 percent decline from peak enrollment

Armstrong State University (Savannah): 7,094 students; 7.65 percent decline

Bainbridge State College 2,470 students; 33.89 percent decline

College of Coastal Georgia (Brunswick) 3,008 students; 13.41 percent decline

Dalton State College 4,854 students; 18.94 percent decline

Darton State College (Albany) 5,623 students; 12.09 percent decline

East Georgia State College (Swainsboro) 2,910 students; 15.28 percent decline

Fort Valley State University 2,594 students; 33.42 percent decline

Georgia Perimeter College (Decatur) 21,371 students; 20.84 percent decline

Georgia Regents University (Augusta) 8,530 students; 15.13 percent decline

Georgia Southwestern State University (Americus) 2,666 students; 12.48 percent decline

Gordon State College (Barnesville) 4,047 students; 19.21percent decline

Middle Georgia State College (Macon) 7,927 students; 22.50 percent decline

South Georgia State College (Waycross) 2,611 students; 21.43 percent decline

Valdosta State University 11,563 students; 11.66 percent decline

Source: University System of Georgia

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