The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported the Regents acknowledged Wednesday guidelines for out-of-state tuition waivers need to be improved.
In December, a state audit found the University System of Georgia waived about $106 million in out-of-state tuition during the 2012-13 school year. Nonresident tuition was almost $9,300 more per semester than in-state tuition at some schools that year.
The audit found that by awarding the waivers, institutions are potentially forgoing that revenue. But the amount of forfeited money is difficult to determine without knowing whether an out-of-state student would pay the full tuition without the waiver.
University System of Georgia officials have said the waivers are considered a recruitment tool as the system deals with declining enrollment numbers.
Despite their use as potential recruitment tools, the newspaper reports some have said they’d rather see the University System investing its money and energy on students from within the state.
The state doesn’t allocate money to the University System to offset the cost of the waivers but does give money for instructional costs. According to the audit, about $42 million in state appropriations helped pay for the instruction of tuition waiver recipients.
System Chancellor Hank Huckaby says he supports the waivers.
“We contend now and forever that there is a valued place for them in our institutions,” Huckaby said, adding that while the audit was being conducted, institutions in other states that were studying ways to stay competitive considered out of state waivers as a potential method.
The Board of Regents is considering consolidating the waiver program from 17 categories into eight and reviewing the academic standards students will have to meet to qualify for the waivers.