Georgia bill requires legislative approval to hike college tuition more than 3%

In one of its last votes of the night, the Georgia House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a measure requiring legislative approval of tuition increases of more than 3% at state universities.

Rep. Chuck Martin, R-Alpharetta, described the action to fellow lawmakers as a way to “allow the General Assembly to work with the Board of Regents to try to keep our tuition low.”

The action came after the Senate earlier Wednesday amended House Bill 319 to include the tuition item. The Senate passed the amended bill by a vote of 53 to 0.

Sen. Sally Harrell, D-Atlanta, asked if the tuition amendment was constitutional, citing the authority the state constitution “gives the Board of Regents to control the University System.”

She did not receive an answer during the floor vote.

House Bill 319 would get rid of one of three entities overseen by the Georgia Student Finance Commission, the agency that also administers the lottery-funded HOPE Scholarship program.

The public corporation was founded in 1965 to support a federal student loan program that no longer exists. Officials have said that abolishing it will save staff time and free up about $25 million in revenue for other uses. You can read more about the bill here.

- LIVE: Follow our live blog from the General Assembly

- LIVE: Watch streams of the Georgia House and Senate