College leaders warn declining enrollment could sap budgets

ATLANTA (AP) — Leaders of Georgia’s public universities and technical colleges warned lawmakers Wednesday that their schools could be weakened by budget cuts based on declining enrollment.

State legislators use funding formulas—with enrollment as the most important input—to determine how much money to spend each year on Georgia’s University System and Georgia’s Technical College System.

But technical colleges have seen a sharp drop in enrollment during the pandemic, and public universities are also seeing declining student numbers, especially since a drop in the number of children leads to a drop in the number of graduate students. from high school.

Declining state funding could lead to a combination of tuition increases, staff reductions and program closures.

University System Chancellor Sonny Perdue called on lawmakers in budget hearings to increase the amount the state pays for faculty salaries and building maintenance, saying those amounts lag far behind the rate of inflation. over the past two decades.

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