University System of Georgia vice chancellor for fiscal affairs Tracey Cook gives a presentation to the Georgia Board of Regents about state Legislature funding to the system. ERIC STIRGUS / ESTIRGUS@AJC.COM

Georgia Board of Regents votes not to raise tuition

University System of Georgia students got some good news Tuesday. Their tuition will not increase this fall.

The Georgia Board of Regents voted not to raise tuition for undergraduate and graduate students. Last year, the board voted to increase tuition by 2 percent.

USG officials cited budget increases recently approved by Gov. Nathan Deal and state lawmakers, in part, as the reason for not raising tuition. The budget for the coming fiscal year, which begins July 1, is approximately $2.43 billion, about $115 million more that the current total.

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The board approved 14 fee increases at nine institutions. The increases are $3 to $31 per semester.

USG Chancellor Steve Wrigley has emphasized making its colleges and universities more affordable in response to frequent criticism in recent years about tuition and fees. A 2016 state audit found a 77 percent increase in the cost of attending a state college or university in the prior 10 years.

“We recognize the critical need to keep our institutions affordable for students while providing a quality education. The board’s decision today maintains our commitment to keeping tuition increases to a minimum,” Wrigley said.

The two economic recessions during the 2000s resulted in severe state government cuts to the system, with the percentage of its budget from the state dropping from 75 percent in 2000 to 47 percent in 2018. Fiscal year spending per student has increased in recent years as the economy has improved, from about $5,500 in 2012 to more than $7,500 for the next fiscal year.

The board also approved a capital budget for campus improvements of about $375 million for the next fiscal year, which officials said was its largest ever.

Here’s the current academic year tuition for some colleges and universities for in-state students:

University of Georgia $9,552

Georgia State University $8,730

Georgia Tech $10,008

Kennesaw State University $5,426

Sources: Universities of Georgia, Georgia State, Kennesaw State and Georgia Tech.

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