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'It's kind of discouraging': Georgia colleges and universities set to see budget cuts to state funding in 2024

Cuts to larger schools like UGA and Georgia Institute of Technology are around $11 million. The money will go back into the $32 billion State budget.

MACON, Ga. — The Georgia General Assembly cut $66 million from the State's 26 public universities this week.

Cuts to larger schools like UGA and Georgia Institute of Technology are around $11 million, and that scales down to $1 million for Georgia College and State University, and $600,000 for colleges like Fort Valley State. 

The money will go back into the $32 billion State budget.

13WMAZ’s Jessica Cha found out more on why it's happening and what it means for higher education.

The state cut about $1.2 million from Middle Georgia State University’s budget for next year. That's about 3% of their $46.7 million budget for 2024. 

"So, we're working it through but there clearly will be some sort of impact on next year's budget,” says Middle Georgia State University's President, Christopher Blake.

He says he knows the cuts from public universities will help boost state employees' salaries.

“I’m very pleased that teachers are getting raises and state employees. They work very hard, and we need to make sure that we attract great people into the professions that the state of Georgia supports,” he says. 

However, on the other hand.... 

"That's gonna hit and it means that some of the things that we planned on doing, we're gonna have to scale back on,” Blake explains. 

They haven't decided on cuts, but they know programs and resources won't expand as quickly as they want. 

"Our students and the public should not be concerned that Middle Georgia won’t be offering its programs. It will,” Blake says. “There is no risk to our curriculum being damaged long term, we just have to be very prudent in the coming year." 

Students on campus say they dislike the budget cuts. 

"I think this is one of the worst places to do it, in education,” says Sophomore Mario Beck. 

He says the cuts may not affect schools now, but in the long term, they will.  

"If we have to stay with the same equipment that we have, basically, it's making our progress of our education and workflow slower,” Beck explains. 

He says he wants to support his family with his career, and the cuts will mean fewer resources for people like him. 

"I need to go here to be able to get where I wanna be in life, so it is kind of discouraging,” Beck says. 

CJ Huntley, who's majoring in Mass Media, says using the cuts to boost state employee salaries is ironic. 

"If I'm gonna go give people more money, it makes no sense to cut the funding,” Huntley explains. “That’s basically taking away teachers, police officers, and student's money and giving it back to them.”

Blake says they've already been getting help from the state in other ways. He says Senator Jon Ossoff was recently able to help secure funds for the university's aviation program. 

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center says cost and COVID-19 are the top reasons young people aren't moving on to the college classroom.

6 in 10 Americans say the financial burden of earning a degree makes higher education inaccessible. They also cite a slower birth rate due to economic recession.

Here in Georgia, 20 schools are already planning to receive less money next fiscal year due to enrollment declines. 

They face a loss of more than $71-million on top of the $66 million.

Nationwide undergraduate enrollment dropped by 8% or more than 1 million students from the Fall 2019 to 2022.

Last year, 15.1 million students were enrolled in undergrad degree programs in U.S. colleges. 

To see the other campuses affected by the $66 million cut, click here. 


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