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Gwinnett Tech sees tuition hike this fall

Two weeks after the Board of Regents raised tuition at colleges and universities across Georgia, an announcement was made on Thursday that the technical colleges would follow suit.

Beginning this fall, the cost per credit hour at 24 colleges in the Technical College System of Georgia, including Gwinnett Technical College, will rise by $4. At a monthly meeting in Atlanta, the state board that oversees the TCSG voted unanimously to accept the increase.

When the increase goes into effect, technical college students will pay $89 per credit hour in a standard program. The average tuition for a full, 15-hour course load in the fall will cost $1,335, plus books and fees.

TCSG Commissioner Ron Jackson said the system has done all that it can to hold down enrollment costs but that operational expenses keep rising.

“Georgia’s technical colleges still offer great value for the students that we serve, and our programs result in high job placement rates for our graduates,” Jackson said. “TCSG tuition, even with the increase, remains relatively low compared to other states.”

Last year, almost 82,000 of the 151,000 students who enrolled in the TCSG colleges were HOPE recipients, with the vast majority using the HOPE Grant.

Including the latest increase, students who qualify for the HOPE Grant will have about 73 percent of their tuition funded.

There are also three new types of tuition assistance that Georgia will add this fall.

The new Zell Miller HOPE Grant will pay 100 percent of tuition for students who enroll in certificate and diploma programs and maintain at least a 3.5 grade point average.

The state’s fiscal year 2015 budget will fund the expansion of Georgia’s Strategic Industries Workforce Development Grant, meaning that TCSG students who enroll in any one of seven high-demand program areas — practical nursing, early childhood care and education, commercial truck driving, welding, healthcare technologies, diesel mechanic and information technology — can use the grant as a supplement to their HOPE Grant.

Combined, the two grants will cover all of the cost of their tuition as well as some of their books and fees.

Also new this year, TCSG students who need additional financial assistance will be eligible to apply for a one percent loan through the Georgia Student Finance Commission. Students who graduate with a 3.5 GPA or better will have their loan forgiven.