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Regents approve tuition hike for 2008 freshmen
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    COLUMBUS — Incoming freshmen at Georgia Southern University will pay $119 more in tuition per semester in 2008 than their predecessors under tuition increases approved by the state Board of Regents.
    The new prices are what the freshmen will pay each semester for the next four years under the state’s guaranteed tuition plan. The tiered plan means students will pay different rates depending on when they entered the University System of Georgia and where they attend school.
    The new tuition rates were passed Tuesday by the board at a meeting at Columbus State University.
    Loretta Brandon, a spokesman for Georgia Southern, said as of Tuesday the University System had not announced any change in university fees for 2008
    Freshmen at the state’s four research universities will pay $2,428 this fall, an increase of $180. Those campuses are: the University of Georgia, Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia State University and the Medical College of Georgia.
    Freshmen attending at four-year comprehensive universities will pay $1,598, an increase of $119 over last year. That list includes Georgia Southern, Kennesaw State University and the University of West Georgia.
    Tuition for freshmen at Georgia’s seven state colleges will be $997, up $59 from last year. First-time students at two-year colleges will pay $44 more than freshmen last year with a tuition bill of $919 per semester.
    The regents passed the tuition rates as part of a record $2.3 billion budget, an increase of $165 million in state appropriations over last year. That budget includes $49.97 million for average merit raises of 2.5 percent for faculty and staff.
    ‘‘The system’s tuition strategy supports the board’s strategic plan, which calls for us to maintain affordability and access to public higher education,’’ said Usha Ramachandran, interim vice chancellor for fiscal affairs.
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