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Board of Regents approves tuition hike
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    The Board of Regents approved a tuition increase of $302 for incoming freshman at Georgia's public colleges and universities Wednesday, but those students won't be affected by future rate hikes under the state's "fixed for four" plan.
    The increase will bring tuition costs for a full-time freshman at Georgia Southern to $1,479, but that rate will remain the same for four years, allowing families to budget for college costs without having to worry about yearly increases in tuition costs.
    This is the second year of the "fixed for four" plan, meaning students who enrolled in the 2006-2007 year aren't affected by the tuition increase. Students who enrolled prior to 2006 will see an $89 increase in their tuition costs, said Joe Franklin, vice president for business and finance at Georgia Southern.
    In addition to tuition, students taking at least four credit hours will pay an additional $562 in fees, up $34 from last year. Those charges include the student activity fee, athletic fee, RAC fee, transportation fee, health fee and technology fee.
    "There will be three different tuition rates depending on when you started," Franklin said, "but the fees will be the same for everyone."
    Franklin said the "fixed for four" plan not only helps families budget for college, but gives incentive to students to finish their degree in four years.
    "If they don't finish in those four years, the increase going into their fifth year is going to be very substantial," Franklin said.
    While it may be beneficial to the students, Franklin said the university will have to keep track of several different tuition rates, making the management of it "quite difficult."
    University System of Georgia Chancellor Erroll Davis Jr. said their goal was to maintain affordability and access while keeping rates stable for students and parents.
    "Thanks to the support of Gov. Sonny Perdue and members of the General Assembly, we have the resources to meet these objectives and honor the pledge we made to our customers last year with the introduction of the innovative fixed for four plan," he said.
    The $2.1 billion budget passed by the Board of Regents also includes $54 million in raises for faculty and staff. This year's budget represents a 10 percent increase in state money from last year, the largest increase in 12 years, Davis said.
    "It was an extremely good budget year for us," he told the 16-member board.
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