Enrollment drop means higher ed needs more help

Friday, September 13, 2013

This is Georgia's version of the College Conundrum, and it's by no means limited to Georgia.

The University System of Georgia is asking Gov. Nathan Deal to put more money into his proposed budget for next year. Specifically, the Board of Regents unanimously approved a resolution asking for an additional $49 million, or about a 2.6 percent increase.

This comes at a time when the governor has told state agencies to expect their budgets to remain flat from this year to next, except for those departments having to do with health and medicine; their funding formulas are based on participation, which of course increases with an aging population. Rising health care expenses are, not surprisingly, a leading factor in the budget squeeze.

The University System's vector is leaning the other way. Enrollment is falling, in large part because many students who would immediately need remedial help in college are no longer admitted. And it has also shrunk, of course, because fewer and fewer American families can keep up with the precipitous and constant rise in college costs. In Georgia, even the HOPE scholarship has had to be reworked because of rising tuition and falling lottery sales.

 

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