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Course fees eliminated on more than 100 CSU courses
The Board of Regents for the University System of Georgia (USG) set tuition this week for the 2017-2018 academic year, keeping all 28 of the USG’s colleges and universities to a tuition increase of 2 percent.
By keeping the tuition increase to 2 percent for the 2017-2018 academic year following the zero percent increase for the current year (2016-2017), the University System has been able to limit tuition increases to an average of 2.2 percent annually over the last five years. The USG continues to offer some of the lowest tuition rates among peer state public higher education systems. Out of the 16 states that make up the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), the USG has now become the sixth lowest state in tuition and fees for four-year institutions.
At Columbus State, this change means undergraduate tuition will increase $3.47 from $174.20 per credit hour to $177.67 per credit hour. For in-state students enrolled in 15 hours, the total tuition will increase from $2,613 per semester to $2,665, an increase of $52.
Meanwhile, the Board continues to ensure fees and fee increases are kept to a minimum and used for the benefit of students. The USG has worked with each of the institutions to reduce the number of fee increases, which must demonstrate a clear need. In recent years, the number of approved mandatory fee increases from USG institutions has continued to decrease year-over-year. For example, the number of fee increases dropped from 67 in Fiscal Year 2012 down to 12 for the upcoming year, Fiscal Year 2018.
At Columbus State, the review of course fees led to the elimination of fees associated with 103 courses since the start of the 2016-17 academic year. Eliminating those course fees means a savings to CSU students that adds up to more than $300,000.
The University System also continues to focus on increasing accessibility through its online offerings. eCore, the USG’s online core curriculum, will decrease tuition to $159 per credit hour from $169.
The University System also provides free, open-source, on-line e-textbooks through the Affordable Learning Georgia initiative. Last year, the USG was ranked by national publisher OpenStax at Rice University as number one in the nation of any school or school system for saving students the most money by providing free textbooks worth more than $3.5 million in 2016.
Columbus State University has contributed to those savings. Since Spring 2015, 20 faculty and staff have participated in the open education initiative with an estimated cost avoidance of $458,979 for students.
“The University System of Georgia is committed to providing students an affordable, accessible and high quality college education,” said Shelley Nickel, executive vice chancellor for strategy and fiscal affairs. “Across the University System, we are working together to help make college affordable with the ultimate goal of student success.”
The University System has also implemented initiatives focused on helping students graduate in a shorter timeframe, and as a result, save money by avoiding extra semesters and unneeded classes. These initiatives include:
— Degree Roadmaps: Campus advisors are providing “degree roadmaps,” so students avoid spending time and money in courses that do not count toward their degree. Students have a clear path of which courses to take to earn their degrees.
— Full Course Loads: As part of the “15 to Finish” effort, campuses encourage students to take 15 credit hours per semester, thus shortening the time it takes to graduate.
— Proactive Advising: Institutions are also using an early-alert system to monitor students’ performance so that a low test grade may signal a counselor to provide additional support, such as tutoring, and help enable students to complete a class successfully.
Tuition rates for each institution can be found here.