Students may start to feel college budget woes - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Students may start to feel college budget woes

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December 16, 2003
Albany- Most of the Darton graduates at Tuesday night's commencement exercises enjoyed small class sizes and plenty of programs while they were in school, even though money for colleges has been tight.

But with funding continuing to drop, that could change.

"The cuts from this point forward will start affecting students," said Thomas Meredith, chancellor of the University System of Georgia. "Larger classes, fewer offerings, those kinds of things are going to happen."

Less money hasn't stopped students from signing up to get their degrees. College enrollment in Georgia is booming. In the last four years, the University System has added the equivalent of 2 1/2 Georgia Techs. There are 233,000 students in the system.

"And our funding has been going down," Meredith said. "We're now at the lowest point of the state budget since 1967."

Many colleges already have an enormous number of empty faculty positions they can't afford to fill. Some schools are putting caps on enrollment.

But regardless of how much state money comes to the system, college leaders say it shouldn't stop anyone from going to school.

"They ought to go ahead and get started. We'll get them in and we'll get them educated and it will be the best education you can get anywhere."

They'll use the money they do have to prepare new students the same way they prepared these graduates to go out into the world.

posted at 10:10 p.m. by brannon.stewart@walb.com