By Laura Diamond, AJC
While billions have been cut from state government’s budget during the Great Recession, the University System of Georgia has been on a comparative spending spree.
Spending has gone from $5.4 billion in 2007 to a projected $7 billion this year, as colleges built expensive buildings, hired high-priced administrators, bought top-of-the-line technology, added football teams and dozens of new academic programs and even bought a golf course. To help pay the rising costs, the system raised tuition and fees.
Tuition at the University of Georgia has increased by 50 percent since 2008, and student fees have increased 87 percent.
Dozens of degree programs graduated 10 or fewer students last year. Student fees — most of which are approved by students — have paid for hundreds of nonacademic pursuits, including a golf course in Statesboro, concerts and climbing walls. Fees paid to field a new football team at Georgia State University and will help pay for one at Kennesaw State.
The amount of money spent paying college deans, vice presidents and presidents increased up to 30 percent during the recession, from 2007 to 2010. Spending on top officials grew faster than salaries for professors. Dozens of degree programs graduated 10 or fewer students last year. The University System added 40,000 student housing beds at a cost of $1.9 billion since 1991, most in the past decade. These are not your father’s dorm rooms. When Georgia Gwinnett College opened its dorms last year, students found 46-inch flat-screen HDTVs in living rooms.
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The University System of Georgia claims that there is “no money” and that these cuts and fee increases are necessary, but they have the money for flat-screen TVs and a golf courses in our universities! The university system of Georgia is trying to “sell” us a college lifestyle rather than a college education! Take a stand against the tuition and fee increases!
OUR EDUCATION IS NOT FOR SALE!