The University System of Georgia has added more than 5,000 employees since the start of the Great Recession, pumping up its payroll while the rest of state government eliminated 10,000 jobs.
The hiring spree unfolded during the past five years even as the state was cutting nearly $300 million from University System funding. When staff gets larger at the same time state funding gets smaller, the system turns to students to pay for its hiring. The result: Some schools increased staff by 30 to 45 percent while students endured even larger increases in tuition and fees.
Colleges say they needed to hire faculty and staff to keep pace with increasing enrollment.
And the University System has extraordinary flexibility when it comes to revenue. Like other state agencies, it receives state money. Unlike other agencies, though, the State Board of Regents can raise tuition and fees to secure additional money.