The state Board of Regents voted Wednesday to send its budget blueprint to Gov. Sonny Perdue, who will make final recommendations to state lawmakers on how to cope with an expected $1.6 billion statewide shortfall this fiscal year.
We are trying to do this without compromising the quality of education we owe to our students, Chancellor Erroll B. Davis told the regents.
Like most state agencies and departments, the board is trying to figure out how to cut anywhere from 6 to 10 percent from its budget.
State lawmakers will hammer out a budget when they convene in January, although Perdue is under mounting pressure from lawmakers and other state officials to hold a special session sooner to address the states financial woes.
But the guarantee was contingent on colleges getting full funding, Davis said. A spokesman for Perdue did not immediately return a call for comment Wednesday.
The fixed tuition program was not popular with some college presidents, who depend on that money to make up for what the state doesnt provide each year.
Our electricity is not Fixed for Four, our water is not Fixed for Four, Georgia State President Carl Patton said.
Its a very nice political concept, but its not an economically viable concept.
Some students arent happy about the news that they could see tuition hikes.
I dont think its right for the Board of Regents to go back on its word, said Tamara Best, a University of Georgia junior from Conyers who was in the first class of students to have fixed tuition. If you tell people one thing, you should stick to it, regardless of the circumstance.
College officials say the cuts could also mean hiring freezes, layoffs and delays in campus construction across the state. Employees may have to pay more of their health insurance premiums, which would mean up to $800 a year taken out of their paychecks.
Other cuts include fewer police officers, more part-time faculty in classrooms, no computer upgrades and fewer books and magazines in campus libraries.
The cuts are particularly painful after a $290 million reduction to the base budget in 2004 that the university system never recovered, University of Georgia President Michael Adams said.
These cuts on top of that is what makes it more difficult, Adams said