Regents approve tuition freeze for public colleges for upcoming year

Vote came amid warnings of rising financial fallout from pandemic

The Board of Regents, the appointed board that oversees Georgia’s higher education system, froze tuition for the 2020-2021 academic year amid warnings the coronavirus pandemic is creating fiscal challenges.

The vote assures that students at Georgia's 26 public colleges and universities will pay the same tuition next year as they did this year. But it is unclear what the future holds.

In his update to the regents, Chancellor Steve Wrigley said financial losses are being felt from the system-wide shutdown of campuses, including $200 million in refunds to students for housing and dining hall costs.

Losses will climb to $340 to $350 million as other funding sources falter during the summer, said Wrigley, citing lost income from canceled camps, professional learning programs, study abroads and other events.

>> RELATED | Georgia University System revenue losses from coronavirus expected to reach $350M

Wrigley said the losses will be offset in part by a short-term infusion of $125 million that the University System of Georgia hopes to receive from the CARES Act, the $2 trillion federal coronavirus legislation designed to provide financial relief to states, corporations, citizens and schools.

"There will be economic and fiscal impacts on our campuses," he told the regents. "We want to get on the other side of this thing in a strong position."