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Solution For Budget Stricken State College Systems

Solution For Budget Stricken State College Systems

statebudgetI came across an informative article the other day that detailed how the country of Zimbabwe is overcoming their funding issues for higher education. They have put into law a decree that states that any student who received state funded educational grants is required to pay Zimbabwe a third of their wages if upon graduation they decide to work in a foreign country. From what I can tell, you have to pay one-third of your salary for each year that you were in attendance at the University and make the decision to work outside of the country.  It reminds me of the time period when we used to have indentured servants…

The impetus of this legislation is to help Zimbabwe reduce a consistent “brain drain” that they have been experiencing but more importantly it is hopeful that they will be able to originate some additional funding to help support it’s current student population. Based upon their recent financial crisis the local universities have sent out memorandums to all students stating that financial aid is no longer available to students experiencing financial distress.

I am not really sure how Zimbabwe is going to enforce this mandate amongst it’s student population but the approach certainly gets an “A” for creativity.  Can you imagine if our country (or states) started implementing a similar policy for students that receive federal or state aid to help subsidize their educational expenses? I don’t think it would work at the federal level but I could see the state college systems seriously considering this approach.

Let’s do a scenario.. What if you were a student at Georgia State University for four years. If you are a resident of Georgia your total tuition expense (sticker price) would be $28,280 ($3,535 a semester x 8 semesters). However, if you were an out-of-state student your tuition expense would be $101,120 ($12,640 a semester x 8 semesters). You have to keep in mind that these figures don’t include discounting (financial aid) or yearly percentage increases in fees… I am just trying to keep the math simple. 😉

The difference between the gross in-state rate and the out-of-state rate is $72,840. That means that if you are a Georgian resident you automatically receive a substantial discount. My guess is that the great state of Georgia is hoping that you will put this deeply discounted education to good use in their state but what happens if you decide to move to Ohio after graduation. That large discount you received is now money lost for the state of Georgia because you are taking your future earning potential (and tax dollars) to Ohio. So.. if they adopted Zimbabwe’s approach, they would make you pay a third of your wages back to them for the next four years as a form of restitution for the tuition discount you received. If you made $55,000 a year for the first four years in Ohio, the state of Georgia would break even with their “investment” in you because you would be paying back approximately $18,315 a year to them (based upon the Zimbabwe approach).

Now I can’t imagine that our state college systems would ever introduce something this radical. But as budget cuts are deeper and deeper and administrators and legislators are charged with the responsibility of reducing costs or increasing revenue within the state, you could see more “out of the box” proposals like Zimbabwe’s starting to surface.

So what do you think? Do you believe that your state college system or elected officials would really entertain something like this? I assume the answer is a resounding “NO” but goofier things have happened.

Posted in News Room, State News1 Comment

Georgia College System Approves 16% Tuition Increase

Georgia College System Approves 16% Tuition Increase

GeorgiaBoardofRegentsAnother state college system bites the dust.. not literally.. I just mean that a long line of public colleges have been adopting higher and higher tuition increases to make up for the reduced funding being provided by their respective state budgets and now the great state of Georgia is following suit.

The Georgia Board of Regents recently approved tuition increases for the 2010-2011 academic year ranging from a low of 4% to an all-time high of 16% for the 35 public colleges and universities. The research institutions are being hit the hardest (16% increase) while the community colleges are only going to experience the 4% bump in fees.

The tuition increases are expected to cover about $80 million of the $227 million dollars reduced in the state budget for higher education.  “Over the last few years, we have had an economic tsunami like none of us has ever experienced,” Usha Ramachandran, vice chancellor for fiscal affairs at the University System of Georgia, told the board.

The following is a comprehensive spreadsheet reflecting all the tuition rates for each college and university falling under the management of the Georgia Board of Regents.

Tuition Rates (Per Semester) Academic Year 2010-2011

If you are a student or family from the Georgia College System and need assistance to help absorb this increase in tuition, check out my article for approaches to paying for college (after the first year). Hopefully it gives you some insight to help make the impact on your checkbook much lighter.

Posted in GeorgiaComments Off on Georgia College System Approves 16% Tuition Increase

Oregon Opportunity Grant Exceeds Budget By $19 Million

Oregon Opportunity Grant Exceeds Budget By $19 Million

The Oregon Opportunity Grant is a need-based grant that was established in 1971 to help Oregon students obtain their educational goals of going to college. It has been a successful program and has done very well in administering funds from the state budget… until now.

For the current academic year, the Student Assistance Commission (SAC) was provided a budget of $67 million dollars to grant to Oregon students attending participating Oregon colleges and universities. The problem came about earlier this year when the Commission announced that they had exceeded their budget by a minimum of $10 million dollars and once all is said and done that overage may reach $19 million dollars.

So whats the solution… The state appropriated an additional $9.7 million dollars to help offset the added expense but it appears that the SAC will be denying more of the grant applications this coming academic year to help bring the budget back in line.

My suggestion to Oregon students is to complete your FAFSA early this year to ensure receipt of the Oregon Opportunity Grant. The SAC states that they will not process awards for any students that submit their FAFSA after August 15th. They did say that they would consider applicants after the deadline but only if additional funding is made available (which is probably not likely).

The following is video coverage from a local news station:

Posted in OregonComments Off on Oregon Opportunity Grant Exceeds Budget By $19 Million

EMU Displays Oneupmanship With Freeze On Fees

EMU Displays Oneupmanship With Freeze On Fees

Earlier in the week I wrote an article about how Michigan State University was adopting a tuition freeze yet implementing an increase in the cost of room and board for students attending next year. I am not sure if it is in direct response to MSU but recently Eastern Michigan University has stated that it is not going to raise tuition for the upcoming academic year AND they are also going to maintain the same fees for room and board costs!

As an outsider (not residing in the state of Michigan), it appears that all the Michigan colleges and universities are digging deep to compete with each other to attract and retain quality college students. Their efforts are driven by an uncertain state budget outlook for the coming year. However, the true winner in this situation will be the students attending these schools.

Eastern Michigan University (EMU) is marketing their no increase program as “0-0-0” (meaning zero tuition increases, zero room rate increases, and zero board plan rate increases). It is apparently creating quite a buzz with incoming and returning students alike. Some students stated that they were entertaining the option of transferring somewhere cheaper but now they have decided to stay for another year. Below is an example of their marketing campaign:

zero

Tuition and Mandatory fees for the 2010-2011 academic year at EMU are as follows:

Course Level
Resident
Tuition
Non-Resident
Tuition
General
Fee
Technology
Fee
Student
Union Fee
Up to 499

$238.25

$701.75
$23.50
$11.15
$3.35
500 – 699
$416.75
$821.50
$23.50
$11.15
$3.35
700 and Above
$479.50
$926.00
$23.50
$11.15
$3.35

Additional fee information for Eastern Michigan University can be found here.

Higher education has always been a competitive market but it certainly looks like a great time to be a student in the state of Michigan!

Posted in Michigan3 Comments

Michigan State Increases Room & Board – Not Tuition

Michigan State Increases Room & Board – Not Tuition

michiganstateuIncreasing room and board fees and leaving tuition rates alone is somewhat of a new concept but Michigan State University is committed to doing just that for the upcoming 2010-2011 academic year.

The trustees for the University voted to increase room and board fees by 5.1%. With this increase, basic room and board charges for those living in the residence halls will be $7,770.

Assuming an eleventh hour tuition increase is not in the works, the following reflects the tuition rates for the upcoming 2010-2011 academic year:

TUITION RESIDENT NON-RESIDENT
Undergraduate – Admitted Fall 2005 or after Lower Division (Freshman and Sophomores) $ 347.00 $ 895.75
Undergraduate – Admitted prior to Fall 2005 (Freshmen and Sophomores) 321.00 869.75
Undergraduate – Admitted Fall 2005 or after Upper Division (Juniors and Seniors) 380.50 925.00
Undergraduate – Admitted prior to Fall 2005 (Juniors and Seniors) 354.50 899.00
Graduate – Masters 478.25 966.50
Graduate – Doctoral 478.25 966.50
Graduate Certification 478.25 620.75
Lifelong Education 478.25 620.75

Source: Michigan State University Fee Schedule

I would like to applaud MSU for attempting to keep their tuition rates under control even though the state of Michigan still struggles to keep a balanced budget. The students and families that attend MSU are sure to be very appreciative.

Posted in MichiganComments Off on Michigan State Increases Room & Board – Not Tuition

Save Money! – Get a 1 Year Associates Degree

Save Money! – Get a 1 Year Associates Degree

IvyTechI have written many articles related to finishing your bachelor’s degree in three years (or quicker). Some of the approaches I brought to light were through the use of traditional 3 year programs offered at various colleges and universities. Other techniques required some extra work (and planning) before and during college. The end result is a quality education at a bargain price because you shaved some extra semesters off the length of your program.

Everyone has always focused on shortening the time frame for getting a bachelor’s degree but a community college in Indiana is applying the same principle to the associates degree.

Ivy Tech, located in Fort Wayne Indiana, has developed an accelerated associate program that will graduate small cohorts (12 – 20) of students within a one year time frame. This program is cited as not being for the academically challenged and is working with local guidance counselors to identify students that are “college ready” and expected to excel within the framework of how this curriculum will be executed.

The concentration of studies will be in Health Care Support, General Education, and Computer Information Systems. This program is being backed by a $2.3 million dollar grant by the Lumina Foundation and a $270,000 grant provided by the Indiana Higher Education Commission. The overall goal of the one year associates degree is to help increase graduation rates and reduce costs for the students.

Seems like a great idea to me… Get your associates degree in a year and if you are eager, transfer the credits to a bachelor degree program. Either way, it is a great way to help save on education costs and complete your degree goals ahead of schedule.

For more information, you can visit Ivy Tech Community College online here.

Posted in Indiana, Paying For College2 Comments

Kentucky Colleges: Tuition Increase & Grant Decrease

Kentucky Colleges: Tuition Increase & Grant Decrease

KentuckyflagI have recently gotten some flack from some of my reader base coming from the great state of Kentucky. Apparently they were feeling like a “red headed step-child” since I have not covered any college affordability news in their region… Hopefully today’s article (as grim as it may be) will help to satisfy their concerns and provide them the attention in which they yearn. 😉

The state of Kentucky is following suit with numerous other states in that they are having budget issues that deeply impact the way they provide higher education to their students. Recently, the Kentucky Council for Post-Secondary Education imposed a 4% to 6% limit (cap is set by institution) on how much tuition can be raised for the upcoming 2010-2011 academic year (Details Below).

This is certainly great news for the students attending these schools but the college administrators are thinking otherwise. Given the current state budgets (or lack there of) the colleges are questioning the limit on tuition increases because even if they impose the full percentage allowed, they still will be unable to get out of the red and into the black (meaning.. they won’t have enough current revenue to cover current expenses).

After maximizing the full tuition increase allowed, the following is a sampling of some of the budget issues schools will be encountering:

  • University of Kentucky – Will have a $7.6 million dollar operating deficit
  • Eastern Kentucky University – Will have a $3.8 million dollar deficit
  • Kentucky State University – Will have a $6.2 million dollar deficit
  • Morehead State University – Will experience a $3.8 million dollar deficit

Given these budget shortfalls, any extra-curricular programs or activities on these campuses may be under scrutiny (and possibly on the chopping block) if the Kentucky Public College System doesn’t collaboratively work with State of Kentucky and the Council for Post-Secondary Education to come up with some viable solutions. In the meantime, the students get the benefit of this decision (capping tuition increase), for the short-term, in their checkbooks when it comes time to make those tuition payments.

Unfortunately, those students that are used to receiving funding from the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA) may need to start looking at other options based upon an announcement earlier this week. It appears that KHEAA has ran out of funds and is in the process of sending letters out to 16,599 students to let them know that they will not be receiving any assistance. The maximum amount of this award for the coming academic year is $1,900 per student. Local colleges are going to try and minimize the impact for their students but they say that the pool of money allocated for these situations is quite small and will never be able to fully cover the loss…

Well… that is my Kentucky Higher Ed snapshot for the day.. some good news (cap on tuition increases), some bad news (KHEAA grant out of funds), and some ugly news (state budget crisis impacting public colleges).

Here is the information regarding the pricing for the 2010-2011 academic year:

Increase up to 6 percent


University of Kentucky

Freshman/sophomore

2010-11 ceiling: $8,610

Increase: $487

Junior/senior

2010-11 ceiling: $8,859

Increase: $501

University of Louisville

2010-11 ceiling: $8,424

Increase: $480


Increase up to 4 percent


Kentucky Community and Technical College System

2010-11 ceiling: $130 per credit hour:

Increase: $5 per credit hour


Increase up to 5 percent


Western Kentucky University

2010-11 ceiling: $7,560

Increase: $360

Eastern Kentucky University

2010-11 ceiling: $6,628

Increase: $316

Kentucky State University:

2010-1 ceiling: $6,216

Increase: $296

Morehead State University

2010-11 ceiling: $246 per credit hour

Increase: $12 per credit hour

Murray State University

2010-11 ceiling: $6,264

Increase: $288

Northern Kentucky University

2010-11 ceiling: $7,128

Increase: $336

Posted in KentuckyComments Off on Kentucky Colleges: Tuition Increase & Grant Decrease

Certified Public Accountant-CPA Scholarship Opportunity

Certified Public Accountant-CPA Scholarship Opportunity

CPAIn the state of Ohio, the minimum credit requirement for those wanting to sit for the CPA exam is 150 semester credit hours. As most of you may know, most students graduate from a 4-year college program somewhere around the 130 credit hour mark. So how are they supposed to bridge this gap to achieve the required credit criteria requested by the Ohio Accountancy Board? Glad you asked!

One option that many students take advantage of is going straight from their undergraduate experience to graduate school. CPA’s tend to migrate toward MBA programs. When they graduate with their MBA degree, they will have more than enough credit hours to be able to sit for the Ohio CPA exam.

Another option for the CPA minded student is to attend their college of choice for a fifth year to help boost their completed credit hours. Financially this option can sometimes be a costly approach but as more institutions embrace their fifth year seniors you find that most of the aid received in prior years will still be available for that fifth year (9th and 10th semester).

The state of Ohio realizes that their 150 credit hour requirement may be a little onerous in comparison to other states, so they have established a scholarship fund to help students offset the additional costs associated with completing those extra credit hours. The title of this grant program is the Fifth Year College Scholarship. I find it a little humorous just because it appears to be rewarding students that don’t graduate on-time! 😉

It is a great scholarship program and it certainly encourages students in the state of Ohio to become a CPA without the added financial burdens. The only caveat that I can find with the scholarship program is that the state will make you repay the monies if you don’t sit for the CPA examination within 2 years of the final grant disbursement. So tread lightly with this program if you are not fully committed to becoming a CPA. Of course though, it only requires you to “sit” for the exam and not necessarily pass it to be absolved from repayment…

Here is the application form. It appears that they accept scholarship requests twice a year (each semester) and that it is available to upper-class students that are enrolled in an accredited accounting program at a qualified college or university. Enjoy!

Also, even though this scholarship program is specific to the state of Ohio, I can imagine that other state CPA programs may have something comparable (if you are reading this and you reside in another state).

Know anyone that qualifies for this funding? Be sure to send this link to them using the “share tab” below…

Posted in Ohio, ScholarshipsComments Off on Certified Public Accountant-CPA Scholarship Opportunity

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